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Workplace asbestos exposure risks: Protecting employees on site

With asbestos materials still disturbingly prolific across countless Australian workplaces, employers uphold primary duty preventing occupational asbestos exposure threatening employees on site. This article outlines key risks and protocols managers must take to protect their most valuable assets – loyal staff – against preventable deadly asbestos harm.

Identifying suspected asbestos within work environments

Before purchasing any commercial property or newly leasing older facilities, comprehensive site assessments conducted by licensed asbestos inspection firms must precede staff occupation identifying known and suspected materials present. Floor plans highlighting hazards should remain displayed across offices/warehouses alongside emergency protocols if damage incidents emerge. Periodic re-inspections noting any installation changes further bolster monitoring. Ignorance breeds site-wide asbestos disasters.

Upholding Rigorous Asbestos Risk Procedures:

  • Mandatory asbestos safety induction training for all new staff
  • Free specialist protective masks provided for unavoidable site tasks
  • Live asbestos register app updates push-notifying workforce teams


Isolating vulnerable employees from suspected asbestos zones

Once potentially hazardous zones get flagged across worksites following evidence-based inspections, interim physical isolation precautions enter force restricting access protecting at-risk teams until conclusive sampling completes removal planning phases. Suspected areas should remain sealed by warning signage and temporary screens until remediation finishes. No staff should ever need to venture into grey risk areas present on asbestos registers.

Commissioning annual air monitoring audits

While isolating damaged asbestos products is the priority, even inert materials intact require vigilant monitoring checking accelerated weathering hasn’t disturbed surface conditions releasing fibres from cladding, guttering and cement sheeting considered harmless in the past. Regulations mandate annual asbestos air monitoring tests conducted by occupational hygienists across commercial sites quantifying microscopic fibre densities. Monitoring verifies ongoing safe containment.

Empowering employees to report asbestos disturbance concerns

Beyond top-down oversight, enabling a strong workplace health and safety culture where team members feel uninhibited reporting asbestos damage events or renovation disturbance concerns represents bottom-up hazard reduction. Constructive asbestos issue reporting should be rewarded not reprimanded. Anonymous submission boxes also suit reluctant informers… because when it comes to potentially airborne asbestos fibres, all alert channels matter.

Fostering workplace empathy around staff asbestos concerns

With asbestos exposure signalling potential terminal illnesses even decades post-contact, demonstrating genuine empathy for employee anxieties by leadership breeds workplace trust critical motivating hazard reporting. Bosses should familiarise themselves with asbestos health conditions to counsel teams through initial grief phases following test results. Offering non-judgemental ears upholds staff dignity.

Exploring innovative asbestos encapsulation solutions

Beyond asbestos removal demolition materials, rapidly evolving polymer sealants now offer revolutionary encapsulation stopping age degradation enabling safer ongoing containment. Encasing stable elements like eaves cladding with crystal coat technologies cushions removal budget priorities better protecting sites long-term. We invest in exploring these emerging workplace protection products so staff don’t have to.


With commercial properties legally requiring asbestos register transparency for buyers by June 2023 under upcoming Queensland reforms, asbestos materials sitting inside workplaces pose unprecedented medico-legal spotlight necessitating urgent reviews by business owners. Risks cannot hide any longer. By championing robust asbestos governance centred on staff safety – above balance sheet priorities – leaders avoid future devaluing conflicts losing top talent or worse.

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