Breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases, which kill more people than any other single work-related illness. The diseases can take many years to develop – so you and your employees will not be immediately aware of a change in someone’s health after breathing in asbestos

Asbestos signLarge amounts of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used for a wide range of activities but mainly construction purposes in new and refurbished buildings until 1980’s, but it’s use was not banned until 2003. This extensive use means that there are still many buildings and sites in Australia and New Zealand which contain asbestos.

Where asbestos materials are in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed they do not present a risk. However, where the materials are in poor condition or are disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres are released into the air, which, if breathed in, can cause serious lung diseases, including cancers.

  • Asbestos exposure causes severe and fatal diseases;
  • Only work on asbestos if absolutely necessary;
  • Asbestos work should be strictly controlled and comply with the legislation;
  • Poorly controlled work will produce very high fibre levels; and
  • Asbestos medical examinations are required when exposure exceeds the action n level for asbestos fibres.

GHS Health and Safety consultants can help your business conduct risk assessments, assist in the development of plans of work and notification for work with ACM, training for employees, supervisors and others working with ACM, advise on PPE, recommend enclosures for working with ACM, controlling techniques to be used when working with ACM and decontamination.

Dangerous Goods

The management of dangerous goods is relatively complex. There are seven pieces of dangerous goods safety legislation that relate to the manufacture, storage, possession handling, transport, and use of dangerous goods (both non-explosives and explosives). This includes the operation of major hazard facilities across Australia.

Dangerous goods are substances that due to their physical, chemical or acute toxicity properties, present an immediate hazard to people, property or the environment. In Western Australia, these are defined in the Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004 and subsidiary legislation, which are administered by Resources Safety.

Classification of dangerous goods is outlined in the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, Seventh Edition, published in 2007 (ADG7), which is closely aligned with international requirements of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

There are nine classes of dangerous goods, based on their hazardous properties, some of which are further divided into divisions. These are labelled accordingly. There are also goods too dangerous to transport and C1 combustible liquids.

Dangerous goods safety legislation covers the following Classes and Divisions of dangerous goods:

  • Class 1 (explosives);
  • Class 2 (gases);
  • Class 3 (flammable liquids);
  • Class 4 (flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneous combustion, substances that in contact with water emit flammable gases);
  • Class 5 (oxidising substances, organic peroxides);
  • Class 6 (toxic substances);
  • Class 7 (Radioactive material);
  • Class 8 (corrosive substances);
  • Class 9 (miscellaneous dangerous goods and articles);
  • Goods too dangerous to be transported (see appendix A of AGD7); and
  • C1 combustible liquids (combustible liquid with flashpoint between 60.5 and 150°C)