In partnership with the Office of the Building Commissioner, NSW Environment Protection Authority and Local Government NSW, SafeWork NSW has introduced a new online Asbestos Awareness and Safety Course. The course aims to provide construction workers and tradespeople with essential education on how to best protect themselves when handling asbestos-containing products.
This training supports a key priority for the NSW Asbestos Coordination Committee (NACC), which works to improve asbestos management and monitoring, and response to asbestos issues in New South Wales, through collaborative efforts and programs. A number of NSW state agencies and other organisations collaborate through the NACC.
The Asbestos Awareness and Safety Course was launched during National Asbestos Awareness Week, which this year is marking the 20th anniversary of Australia’s nation-wide ban on the manufacture, use and importation of asbestos. Despite this ban, asbestos is still likely to be found in homes and buildings constructed before 1990.
Trent Curtin, head of SafeWork NSW, said asbestos is still found in one in three Australian homes. This underscores the importance for individuals in trades and construction fields to be well-versed in identifying and safely managing products that may contain asbestos.
“We are urging all employers to have their workers complete this course if they are likely to encounter asbestos on the job such as plumbers, electricians, bathroom and kitchen renovators, building trades, painters, home handypersons and more,” said Curtin.
“The Asbestos Awareness and Safety Course will give workers a comprehensive understanding of how they can stay safe around asbestos and will ensure employers are providing their workers with appropriate training.”
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Every year around 4,000 Australians unnecessarily die of asbestos-related diseases – around four times the average annual road toll.
SafeWork NSW has developed this comprehensive and interactive course to effectively protect workers dealing with or around asbestos-containing products from exposure to asbestos fibres.
The online short course covers the identification of asbestos-containing products, safe handling techniques, control measures, the health impacts of asbestos exposure, and other related topics.
Employers who encourage their workers to complete the course also meet their legal obligations to provide asbestos awareness training for workers expected to encounter asbestos on the job.