The very first step of managing asbestos-related risks is identifying asbestos and asbestos containing material or ACM at any location and then recording this in the asbestos register. Once the document has been created complying to legal requirements next would be to develop and maintain an asbestos management plan. Depending on the plan all the workers (for workplace) or residents (if it is also a workplace) are to be made aware of the health hazards related to asbestos and take steps to ensure that they get appropriate training on their safety. Next step to manage the risk will be to assess the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos. Accordingly, control measures are to be adopted to eliminate or minimise the risks and these measures are to be reviewed to ensure that the situation is under control. But all of these starts with asbestos registers.
The asbestos register then must be kept ready at all times to and updated with proper information on asbestos. They should also be readily available to the workers, representatives of health and safety, PCBU or persons conducting a business or undertaking and the Government authority. This is the first document that would checked by them to ensure that the asbestos risk has been mitigated with due importance. Asbestos registers are primarily the responsibility of the PCBU and they should ensure that the records pertaining to asbestos have been recorded and updated from time to time. The entries should include date, location and type and condition of the asbestos.
This rule however does not apply to a building that was constructed after 31 December 2003 and if no asbestos has been identified in the building. The asbestos register has to be given to the new owner of the building if it is sold. Asbestos registers are not required for only residential properties and are not workplace. This is also applicable for common areas.
Asbestos register must include record of any asbestos that has been identified in the site or it was assumed to be have asbestos; the date when first asbestos was identified in the site and the location, condition and type of asbestos. Asbestos registers should also be updated periodically and state if no asbestos was found after one such inspection. This register has to be kept with the PCBU if there is a change of management of the site.
Asbestos register should also have the records of written asbestos management plan if asbestos has been found at the site. This plan should identify the spot of asbestos and if any naturally occurring asbestos has been found. Asbestos registers would record the decisions regarding the management plan and also state the reasons for such decisions. The plan must ensure safe working procedures and control measures were followed during the process. Outline for procedures in case of asbestos incidents and emergencies should be in place and the person responsible should also be identified. The plan should be reviewed at least every five years or whenever appealed by health and safety representatives. The register will record the time when asbestos was removed, disturbed, preserved or covered.