Safety alert issued after discovery of asbestos in building panels

Reported by Haydee | 11:14am, Wednesday 12 August, 2015


Photo: SafetyCulture Library

A prohibition notice has been issued to a building site in Sydney after asbestos in fibrous building panels has been discovered.

Tests conducted by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) showed that the panels imported from China contain chrysotile asbestos.

The panels have already been cut on site and so the builder was ordered to get the service of a licensed asbestos removalist to remediate the site and remove the remaining panels.

Asbestos is a prohibited product in Australia since December 2003. However, it is still being used in many countries in manufactured products.

“Local standards in some supplier countries may classify goods ‘asbestos free’ where they meet a certain low level of asbestos content. In Australia, a product found with any level of asbestos is prohibited for import or use,” says WorkCover it a safety alert.

“Importers must be ensure they do not import asbestos into Australia.”

Importers are advised to:

  • Request certification from the manufacturer that the goods are asbestos-free
  • Obtain evidence from the overseas supplier, eg product testing results that the product/material does not contain asbestos
  • Arrange a competent person to sample the goods/materials for testing by a laboratory prior to shipping. (It is recommended that a NATA accredited laboratory, accredited for the relevant test method (AS 4964 Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples), or internationally equivalent laboratories be used).