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Safety on commercial sites

Asbestos management is the responsibility of the property owner, contractor, facility manager and work supervisor. The site must develop and maintain worksafe asbestos management plans and procedures, including having an asbestos register on site following workplace safety regulations. 

Asbestos can be managed safely on commercial sites and buildings. 

Australia phased out the use of asbestos from the 1980s and banned it in all new materials in 2003. 

Between 1940 and 1990, asbestos was a common construction material in Australia – it was used in over 3000 products.  

Many buildings built or renovated before 1990 still contain asbestos. Non-residential and commercial buildings built up to 2003, like multi-story parking lots or shopping centres, may also contain asbestos.  

Get a licenced assessor to check for asbestos before you start work

Professional advice will report on any asbestos on the site.
Inside a commercial building being renovated

Do I need an asbestos register? 

You must keep an asbestos register in workplaces built before 2004, or where asbestos is likely to be present. Amongst other things the register must outline: 

  • where the asbestos is, or assumed to be 

  • what type of asbestos it is 

  • what condition it is in. 

The asbestos register must be:  

  • made available to anyone likely to be exposed to asbestos 

  • kept up-to-date 

  • passed on to new workplace management. 

See the SafeWork NSW website for more. 

How do I make an asbestos management plan? 

If your workplace has asbestos, you must prepare and maintain an asbestos management plan. Your plan must include: 

  • where to find the asbestos register 

  • signage and labelling of asbestos areas 

  • safe work procedures and control measures 

  • incident and emergency procedures 

  • asbestos consultation, training and work log. 

You must review the plan at least every five years or when: 

  • requested by a health and safety representative 

  • you remove, disturb, seal or enclose asbestos. 

The plan must be available to anyone working in the building. See the SafeWork NSW website for more. 

Asbestos awareness training 

Asbestos awareness training is a requirement for anyone whose normal work involves a reasonable likelihood of disturbing or coming into contact with asbestos. 

Training helps staff to be aware of: 

  • the dangers of asbestos  

  • the precautions to take  

  • how to recognise potential asbestos-containing materials, naturally occurring asbestos and loose fill asbestos insulation. 

See the SafeWork NSW website to help you find training.