Bundaberg Regional Council is encouraging tradies and home renovators to brush up on their asbestos awareness this month.
It comes as the annual National Asbestos Awareness Campaign is rolled out around Australia which aims to provide safety information to those looking to renovate and build.
Council's Health, Compliance and Enforcement portfolio spokesperson Cr May Mitchell said with many homeowners turning to the tools during the Covid pandemic, asbestos was in the spotlight now more than ever.
“While home renovations and building projects are on the cards for many, it is integral for people to learn more about asbestos safety measures before picking up the hammer,” she said.
“From the 1940s to the late 1980s, asbestos was used as a binding product in home building materials such as wall and floor sheeting, roofing and pipes.
“When asbestos is broken up through drilling, hammering or more, dangerous fibres are released into the air which can cause a range of serious health problems.”
Cr Mitchell said Council encouraged residents to research their property before taking on any repairs or renovation works and if asbestos was found, to follow the correct procedures.
“Residents are strongly encouraged to always take precautionary measures when uncertain if any materials contain asbestos,” she said.
“If you wish to confirm the identification of asbestos in household material you should contact a qualified asbestos testing specialist.”
Cr Mitchell said up to 10 square metres of household asbestos could be removed by a homeowner, while anything more should be handled by a professional.
“Minimum requirements for removing asbestos include wearing suitable Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, overalls, a dust mask or respirator,” she said.
“Wet the product down as soon as possible and prior to disturbing, double bag in heavy duty sheeting and seal the bag so as to prevent any airborne particles from escaping.”
If you believe a homeowner, occupant or owner-builder is unsafely handling, removing or transporting asbestos material or a person has illegally dumped asbestos waste, contact Bundaberg Regional Council on 1300 883 699.
Fines for incorrect disposal of asbestos
It is a legislative requirement under Queensland Public Health legislation and Environmental Protection legislation for asbestos to be handled and disposed of in a safe and appropriate manner.
There are significant fines which can be imposed if any laws are breached.
Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin said household asbestos less than 175kg could be dumped at the University Drive waste facility, however, certain rules applied.
“You are required to declare asbestos when disposing of waste,” she said.
“For all quantities over 175 kg you must engage an authorised commercial operator.
“These rules are in place for not only the safety of the environment, but also for staff and the community.”
Infringement notices from $275 for minor offences to $10,338 for major offences apply.
For further information on asbestos waste transport and disposal contact Council’s Waste & Recycling Services on 1300 883 699.
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