SafeWork NSW, in collaboration with the Office of the Building Commissioner, NSW Environment Protection Authority and Local Government NSW, has launched an online Asbestos Awareness and Safety Course to provide workers with further education on how to best protect themselves when handling products containing asbestos.
This course supports a key priority for the NSW Asbestos Coordination Committee (NACC)* and has been 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.
Every year around 4,000 Australians unnecessarily die of asbestos related diseases, which is around four times the average annual road toll.
SafeWork NSW has developed the comprehensive and interactive course which aims to help keep workers who work with, or around asbestos containing products, safe from exposure to asbestos fibres.
“Asbestos is still found in one in three Australian homes, meaning all tradies must be aware of how to properly identify and safely handle products containing asbestos,” said Head of SafeWork NSW, Trent Curtin.
“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.
“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.”
The online short course covers the identification of asbestos containing products, safe handling, control measures, the health impacts of asbestos exposure and more.
Employers who encourage their workers to complete the course also meet their legal obligations to provide asbestos awareness training to workers who are likely to encounter asbestos on the job.
Participants can register for the course online via the Construct NSW Digital Learning Platform.
* The NACC works to improve the management, monitoring and response to asbestos issues in NSW through collaboration and programs. A number of NSW state agencies and other organisations collaborate through the NACC.