OHS and WHS: progress reports released on asbestos management

The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has officially released two significant documents that report on working towards an asbestos free Australia.

Chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, Diane Smith-Gander launched the second annual progress report for 2016-17, which outlined activities and data that state, territory and Australian Government entities have reported to the agency under the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Management and Awareness.

The Progress Report highlights a series of case studies from across Australia that shows how the work supporting the National Strategic Plan is delivered.

“It is pleasing to see that each year we can demonstrate a positive trend towards the amount of work being undertaken to prevent asbestos-related disease in Australia,” said Smith-Gander.

“This reflects an increased focus on asbestos management and awareness that is achieved through improved coordination and reporting across all levels of government.”

According to the report the amount of asbestos waste disposed of during 2016-17 was higher than any previous year where data is available.

“This demonstrates that Australia’s asbestos legacy is an increasing waste stream challenge,” said Smith-Gander.

Chief executive officer of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, Peter Tighe also launched Australia’s first ever National Asbestos Profile.

“The National Asbestos Profile is the missing piece of the puzzle to help ensure our prevention strategies, messages and programs are on track to prevent ARDs and targeted to the highest level of risks,” said Tighe.

“The economic impact of asbestos-related disease is growing with total health system costs related to asbestos-related disease are estimated at $185 million in 2015-16 and the productively losses were $321 million.”

“We need to gain a better understanding of the amount and location of asbestos containing-material (ACM) in the residential sector,” said Tighe

The profile follows the template developed by the World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation and draws on best available research and data sources to provide a historical perspective on past exposures to asbestos, as well as information on the current management of asbestos in Australia.

The profile also provides information on the consumption of the various types of asbestos, populations at risk from current and past exposures, the system for inspection and enforcement of exposure limits, as well as the social and economic burden of asbestos-related diseases.

This document supports Australia’s National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Management and Awareness and over time the ASEA says it will be used to measure progress made towards eliminating asbestos‑related diseases in Australia.


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