The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has teamed up with the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Master Electricians Australia (MEA) to produce a leaflet aimed specifically at those working in the sector that may encounter asbestos.
According to the ASEA electricians can be exposed to asbestos in a wide range of field specialties from power stations to fixing up a cable in a street pit or conduit to a suburban home.
The brochure titled Asbestos awareness information for electricians includes:
- an outline for accessing household electrical meters, fuse boxes and boards, which hold a number of asbestos-containing materials like, based resin board.
- ASEA says these are generally black in colour with Ausbestos and Zelemite stamped on them.
- boards can be insulating asbestos on the side, back and top panels of asbestos cement sheet, asbestos insulation board, asbestos millboard or even a combination of them. Asbestos millboards are like a paper or cardboard form of asbestos.
- in older electrical cabinet/boxes, quite often there is already asbestos-containing debris inside from previous drilling/insulation work.
- ASEA says this can be in the form of asbestos-resin board dust, asbestos millboard debris, asbestos cement or asbestos insulation board debris and can be particularly dangerous as opening the box or cabinet will be enough to cause asbestos fibres to becomes airborne and potentially “in your face.”
The ASEA suggests one of the biggest risks to electricians is the drilling and cutting of asbestos related materials and whether it is friable or non-friable and say its important to know whether asbestos is present before work begins to ensure the asbestos remains undisturbed.
Image sourced from Flickr cc: Jasleen Kaur