Managing risks

If you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must identify, assess and control hazards in the workplace. You should always aim to eliminate risks. If that’s not possible, you must minimise risks so far as is reasonably practicable. 

Managing the risks of asbestos includes:

  • identifying asbestos and asbestos containing material (ACM)at the workplace
  • recording identified materials in an asbestos register
  • assessing the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres
  • eliminating or minimising the risks of exposure to asbestos fibres by using control measures, and
  • reviewing control measures to make sure they are working.

Asbestos registers 

You must make an asbestos register document if you have asbestos and/or ACM in your workplace, assumed to be in your workplace, or likely to be in your workplace from time to time. You must:

  • maintain it to ensure the information in the register is up to date
  • ensure the asbestos register is kept at your workplace and accessible to any worker, health and safety representatives and other PCBUs who need to see it, and
  • give it to the next PCBU who takes over the management or control of your workplace.

Your asbestos register records the presence of asbestos that is identified or assumed to be at your workplace.
The asbestos register must have:

  • the date when a competent person has identified the asbestos and/or ACM, or assumes it to be present or likely to be present from time to time
  • the type of asbestos
  • the condition of the asbestos and/or ACM, and
  • a description of the location where the asbestos and ACM can, or is likely to, be found.

The asbestos register can also have:

  • analysis results from laboratory testing confirming whether asbestos is at the workplace
  • details of inaccessible areas that were not inspected, and
  • photographs of the identified or assumed asbestos and ACM.

You can also include site plans to mark out the presence and location of the asbestos and ACM at your workplace. Having site plans and photographs will help persons reading the register to find the location of the asbestos and ACM.

If your workplace building, structure or plant was built after 31 December 2003 or if in Queensland built after 31 December 1989, and there is no asbestos and ACM identified or likely to be present, you are not required to have an asbestos register.

For more information and an example of an asbestos register download the Asbestos registers at the workplace guide.

Asbestos management plan 

You must have an asbestos management plan if there’s asbestos in your workplace.
The asbestos management plan must include:

  • information about the identification of asbestos and ACM, for example a reference or link to the asbestos register for your workplace, and the locations of signs and labels 
  • how you will manage the asbestos and ACM, and why you made those decisions – for example, your safe work procedures and control measures
  • procedures for responding to and managing accidents, incidents or emergencies involving asbestos at the workplace, and 
  • information about consultation, responsibilities, information and training requirements for workers whose work involves asbestos.

You can also include:

  • an outline of how you’ll control asbestos risks, including control measures
  • a timetable for managing risks of exposure, including dates and procedures for reviewing the asbestos management plan and activities that could affect the timing of future reviews
  • who has responsibilities under the management plan, and
  • air monitoring procedures at the workplace.

You must make the asbestos management plan available to anyone who needs it.

You must also keep the plan up to date and review it:

  • at least every 5 years
  • when a health and safety representative requests it
  • when asbestos is removed, disturbed, sealed or enclosed
  • when there are changes to a control measure, or
  • when you need a better plan.