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Asbestos safety session 2021

Industry: 
Construction
Runtime: 
1:00:38

The asbestos safety session was held on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our Asbestos safety session. Thanks for joining us here this morning.

My name's Chris Bombolas. I'll be your emcee for this morning session. I'm from the Office of Industrial Relations.

Can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Today, we're raising awareness about asbestos as part of Asbestos awareness week, which runs from the 22nd - 28th of November. We will find out about the hidden dangers of asbestos. Learn more on how to check for and identify it, or identify asbestos containing products and how to safely handle and remove them.

If you have questions for any of our speakers today, we will have a Q&A session at the end of the presentations. You can ask them at any time by typing your name and question via the chat box to the right of the live stream. And also, just on that point, if you have any technical difficulties, get through to us via the chat box and we'll try to help you out as well.

We'll ask the questions during the panel session at the end of the presentations. And also, if you'd like to change the size of your screen, select the small the four small arrows next to the volume bar at the bottom of your screen.

First up, to talk about safe management of asbestos in Queensland, it's a big welcome to Jodie Deakes, Executive Director WHS Engagement and Policy Service from the Office of Industrial Relations.

Morning Jodie!

Morning Chris, welcome morning to everybody, this bright sparky morning, we're all here today to talk about something that's really, really important in terms of health and safety.

I'd also like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands that we all made on today and pay my respect to the elders past, present and emerging.

Asbestos is not a one trick hazard. It requires a lot of different types of interventions by government and also by businesses.

It requires us to have really strong legislation that enables us to make sure that we've got a strong foundation in terms of what compliance looks like across different regulatory schemes.

It requires education. We need to understand what is this disease, how to manage it, how to treat it, how to store it, how to transport it. It's a really important part of our health and safety framework.

We rely on so many people out there to help us do it.

We work with other agencies. We have our safety advocates with Julie and Don Sager, who tragically lost their son in relation to asbestosis.

As the Executive Director,  I am really excited about how we work across different agencies and across government to manage asbestos related hazards.

We can't do it by ourselves, and we have a range of stakeholders that we work with as well.

 

So in terms of, you know, asbestos, we have different regulatory functions. We have different agencies that work together. The importance of that is that we cut across all the all the different boundaries.

We make sure that when we're working together, we're really clear about how each of our roles fit into the bigger picture, and we make sure that we're constantly working together to understand them.

Some of the things we do have, which are really helpful, and I would ask you to have a look at if you have an is our website. We've got a dedicated asbestos website in Queensland. It features films. It has safety alerts.

It has guidance material for homeowners and for tradespeople as well. And the website is at asbestos.qld.gov.au. It's dynamic. Don't you love a dynamic website? ..and it's constantly updated with new material!

As I was talking about before,  there were six government departments and the Local Government Association of Queensland have joined forces through our interagency asbestos group, IAG. And it's to make sure we have that coordination going on. On the IAG, we have Work Health and Safety Queensland, Queensland Health, the Department of Environment and Science, the Department of Energy and Public Works Resources, Safety and Health Queensland, the LGAQ and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

It's a capable group of people who are all motivated by the one thing, and that is to make sure that we are not exposed to asbestos in dangerous ways. All have their areas of expertise and operation and all have their role to play.

For our part, Health and Safety Queensland look after workplaces related to asbestos issues, and this includes our prosecution and our enforcement side of our business, which is truly important in terms of those who are negligent and do not take it serious. We're always looking to stamp out the dodgy practices and make sure there's a level playing field for those who are doing the right thing.

This often results in cancellation and suspension of licenses of operators who have a history of poor asbestos removal practices.

In the last financial year, 14 prosecutions for business related offenses under the Health and Safety Act were finalised, and this resulted in court ordered fines of totalling $62,000.

At the same time, our inspectors issued 241 improvement notices, excuse me, 97 prohibition notices, sorry and 69 infringement notices with $135,000 in fines.

In 2021, Work Health Safety Queensland has been working with Environment and Science, Queensland Health and the LGAQ to revamp our training program provided to our local council offices.

Capability across all the regulatory schemes is truly important and we constantly work in that space to make sure that we're all able to be able to go out and do our jobs. In Queensland, the responsibility for enforcing asbestos related public health laws is delegated from Queensland Health to local governments, and as part of this arrangement, the state government delivers training for council offices to better equip them to be able to do their job.

Another significant project, over the last year was reviewing and updating the way low density asbestos fibre boards is classified as of February this year.

Our guidance material on low density fibre board says it must be classified as friable in all circumstances, rather than being assessed on a case by case basis to avoid potential nightmare, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has also developed a suite of regulator approved methods statements for managing the risks of LDB when doing minor maintenance and service work under Section 4194 of the Health and Safety Regulation.

These method statements cover minor repairs, painting drilling holes less than 30mm in diameter, moving ceiling tiles to access ceiling cavities and installing fitting for LDB.

They provide clear instructions of how to safely undertake this type of work, as well as competencies and pay required by the worker. Simple, practical and safe solutions.

Well done to everyone who's brought that in. I'm also really proud to say that  we're in the early stages of implementing a pilot compliance campaign in the recycled construction and demolition waste industry in south east Queensland.

We're looking to assess compliance by duty holders in this industry and to reduce the risk of asbestos waste contaminating manufactured product.

This follows an incident in August where asbestos waste was found in recycled construction and demolition waste being used as a backfill on a construction project.

On further investigation, asbestos waste was found in stockpiles and had been supplied to 13 other sites in south east Queensland.

This role is just it's essential for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and other regulators to work together on these types of projects. Moving forward, work has already started on the statewide strategic plan for asbestos in Queensland, with the most initiatives completed and progressed as business usual functions for relevant agencies.

The aim of the next strategic plan is to provide a strategic and coordinated approach to regulation and management of asbestos in this amazing state and to minimise the risk of exposure of asbestos fibres at workplaces of mine sites, domestic premises and in the natural environment.

This is a commitment of the government as part of their election to make sure that we have a strong plan.

We know our roles. We know how we're working together to contribute to the outcome and that we're distributing and making sure that everyone across Queensland is safe in this space.

This plan will be aligned to the priorities and goals of the National Strategic Plan where possible and consultation with stakeholders is occurring right now to finalise this plan.

And finally, we want to make sure the potentially deadly product doesn't make it work its way into the country in the first place.

This means more cooperation with other state and territory regulators and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Border Force to respond to imported products that contain asbestos.

So as you can see, there's a lot going on, and this is a concerted approach by the government and key stakeholders to minimize the risk of exposure to these horrible and deadly hazard in our state and to make sure that mine sites domestic premises and the natural environment is safe.

It's a fight that I am, I am truly proud of being part of and one that we will never give up on. Thank you.

Thanks, Jodie, appreciate that.

 

And it's great news that we have a coordinated approach in that fight against asbestos and trying to make it as safe as possible, you can do your bit, of course by being safe around the product.

We're going to give you some tips about that very, very shortly.

And of course, I again would like to encourage you to visit the website www.asbestos.qld.gov.au for some fantastic tips, some industry latest best practice solutions for you to use and to bring into practice so around your organisation and your workplace. So more on that a little bit later.

And of course, if you do have a question for Jodie, please into the chat box, get it to our team and we'll bring all our three speakers back for a panel session at the end of their presentations, and we'll get to those questions at the end.

Now my next guest is Principal Advisor Asbestos for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. There's not much that he doesn't know about asbestos and how to work with it safely, so it's my pleasure to introduce Stephen Dutka.

Good morning, Stephen.

Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having us.

Good morning all, and thanks for that, Chris. We're just going to start up and do a little bit of go through a slide. The common uses and locations of asbestos, and I'll be also informing you on the product called LDB, which is low density asbestos fibre board. Go the next slide. Okay.

Types of commercial asbestos, it's a naturally occurring mineral. The rock formation types, there's two types the amphibole and the serpentine. And in the amphibole group, you got crocidolite, which is the blue asbestos on amosite, which is commonly known as the brown and the Serpentine Group.

And in the Serpentine Group, you've got chrysotile which is white asbestos, which makes up to about 95% of the asbestos types used in Australia, in the manufacturing and also in the building industry.

Why was asbestos used in the building products? It is a naturally occurring mineral and an easily acquired. It has great flexibility. It has a tensile strength. It has the ability to insulate from heat. It is non-conductive to electricity and it's chemically inert. It was also very affordable.

The phase out and banning the use of asbestos in construction products was phased out from the mid 1980s, and during that time,  the federal government ensured that warning labels must be adhered to the back of the products.

So the building industry were aware that there was a split. The products contained asbestos, and there is are two examples of the stickers that were placed.

The use of all forms of asbestos was banned nationally from the 31st of December 2003, when we in the home, assuming asbestos is present or in your building, in your workplace.

As a general rule, we look at if the place was built before mid 1980's, it is highly likely that asbestos containing products are present between the mid 1980s to 1990.

It is likely that asbestos containing products present after 1990, it is unlikely that asbestos containing material products are present.

Criteria for assuming we look at the age of the building, the era of renovation activity that occurred generally if you're building was built in the 1950s and a lot of renovations through the kitchens and bathrooms took place.

So different products we used, we look at for the manufacturer's labels, as shown in the previous slide and one below we look at the feel of the product to see if it's rough. It's got the dimple effect protruding now. So as you can see in the slides and the cover strips, that's a good tell tale signs that there is an asbestos product.

I'm going to go through a suite of photos. There's over we know that there's over 3000 different products. We're not going to go through 3000 products where I've got a gallery about 79 on our website.

I'm just going to go through a basic amount that we've got here and always, if you want to go.  Go onto our website. It's very helpful and useful.

Here we've got a product called the single shingle tile. It's imitation of a shingle or metal rock, but it's actually a fibro product. It's a 305 millimeter by four millimeter thick single shingle.

Here we've got another product that was manufactured by James Hardie. This product was called the Multi Not shingle. There's four shingle sheets to a sheet. The sheet itself was 1.2 to zero in length and 620 millimeters in width. So you've got four shingles, and it was used in all the roofing, wool sidings and also in awnings.

Here we've got a super six roof, but these roof sheets are actually short. Now that was 750 millimeters long, and they lapped about 100mm on the side. This one looks like you can see it suffered a little bit of how damaged when they after installation. These roofs were painted because the super six roofs were never painted during manufacture.

Here's a standard Super six roof. And in this photo, you can actually see this ridge capping, and there's also you can see some like grey metal products on there. That's a diamond washer. And underneath that diamond washer also is a bitumen felt washer to seal for the water. And that's actually contains asbestos as well.

Here we've got several products, we've got a super six roof, the guttering, the down pipes, the copper strips on the corner of the wall to wall sheeting and the soffit sheeting and the barge cap.

Here's another product that James Hardie used to manufacture. This is called a chamfer board. You notice that on the chamfer board, you can see that there's three boards that will make up that one board and it was either put down horizontally or vertically, depending on how the builder wanted it or the architect. And that's what the sheet looks like.

Another solid form is actually this is called a shadow line, the shadow line was over one meter wide and it was one sheet and it could go up to 3.6 meters long in length.

And another product similar to the shadow line is called Cover Line. You can actually see the nails on this one on the fixings.

This is a standard hardy flex, and it's a very old building this one. You can see the soft shading, but also the asbestos molding. That molding was actually made out of asbestos cement products as well.

Here we've got a manufactured soffit sheeting, and the hulls were actually manufactured with that on saw on during the manufacturing process here internally, this this building was actually is getting prepared for demolition.

So the removalists have removed all the timber cover strips and you can actually see the sheeting. That's the hardy hardy flex. And also the sealing has also still in situ.

Now, this product to you, I'm showing you two products here, you got standard wall shading layer, but the ceiling was actually a product which was commonly used on walls as called striated sheeting. Now that's a very hard product, very unusual to have it in the ceiling. In this circumstance, this was actually placed as a decorative finish.

Very common in in Brisbane area, you might see these this brickwork, it's called five brickwork or false brickwork. It's actually brickwork stuck on sheeting. It was just to update the old fibro straight fibro buildings just to make it look like it was made at a brick.

And then you've got the hardy plank beside it, a smooth, Hardiplank. We've got Hardiplank there in the wood grind finish, which is got the imitation Oregon patent timber patent through it, the grains and you've got striated sheeting and asbestos cover moulds on that one as well, too.

Here we've got electrical switchboard on electrical switchboard. You've got the product called Zelemite which is the black part on that one on the left. And then you notice I've got an arrow up the top there, and that's indicating there's a product which is a textile material. That textile material is called a spark arrestor that's actually made out of asbestos. It was actually prevent the flame or ignition of the if there was a short in the electrical switchboard to prevent fire.

The one on to your right the photo. You got two arrows showing them. That's called an electrical. That electrical box is called a small package board and on that package board because it was mounted on a chip board that had to provide some sort of fire retardant on it. And they got a three-millimetre piece of asbestos insulation board or similar to a LDB product that was actually prevent the fire as well.

Here we've got manufactured slotted soffit sheeting and on the other side, they on the right there you actually see a diamond pattern, which is quite common. If this is previous to manufacturing where they did the slots, the poor old carpenter used to make a  diamond pattern and drill all those holes, and the dust and debris would have fallen on top of his head while was doing that.

Here we also got another products who got two different types of vinyl floor tiles. The one on the left is a twelve inch or 305mm by 305mm tile and the one on the right is a nine inch by nine inch tile, which is 225 mm by 225 mm. Just make note that also, if it wasn't put in a tile, that the glue, the contact adhesive that holds the wall to the floor also had asbestos content.

Here we got something that's quite common in a lot of homes in Australia. It's called domestic sheet vinyl. Now you can see the timber floor and then from the timber floor you'll see a Masonite backing or underlay, I should say.

And that underlay is to make sure that the sheet vinyl lays on something nice and flat and level. And then you can see that gray backing that's affixed to the shading that is the asbestos content. And that is a friable product. And also, there's a different pattern to the right and that shows you what the product looks like.

 

Now, changes to Low-Density board, as Jodie mentioned before, as of the 1st May, it was mandatory that Low-Density board was classified as friable containing material and must only be removed by a Class A license asbestos removalist.

Changes to Low-Density board only the following five maintenance and service work on LDB is permitted when done in accordance with the Low-Density approved methods.

Now, Jodie spoke about those five approved methods. The approved methods are minor repairs and minor damage to LDB, the painting of undamaged LDB the drilling of holes of 30mm in diameter maximum into LDB, the temporary moving of LDB ceiling tiles and installation, and removing fixtures or fittings to LDB.

All these safe work methods have got, as Jodie said before, safe methods in it PPE and a preferred method of removal and working with it.

What is Low-Density Board? Low-Density Fibre Board, or LDB is a lightly compressed board look similar to asbestos cement sheeting or plasterboard different to asbestos cement sheeting. AC can easily be bent by hand or dented by soft pressure softer than asbestos cement sheeting.

The reason for that is calcium silicate plaster was used to bond the material instead of cement. The asbestos content of the lightly compressed board can range up to 70% in content. It was manufactured as a flat sheet product, although some perforated sheeting typically used for acoustic ceiling applications was also manufactured.

Commonly known as low density asbestos fibre board, some product names include Asbestolux and Duralux. Now, if LDB is in good condition, it left undisturbed. It presents a low risk, however, because it's softer than asbestos cement, especially when treating LDB can crumble more easily when disturbed.

Here's a couple of photos of LDB. We've got LDB, where a toilet cistern had been removed. There's a slight difference in colour to a normal cement shade. It's a little bit of white ish.

Now you can see I've got a photo there of where four sheets were joint. They were Bevell joint. That's as common practice, how they used to fix it. But you can't see the nail heads in it because the softness of it. So when the carpenter nailed that sheet in, it was actually finished flush.

Here is some perforated ceiling sheets, you can see the joint, you can actually see a close up with the nails up, but they actually finished flush with them.

Now how you tell that those perforated ceiling sheets are a LDB? They measured exactly 4.4 millimeters in diameter.

Now the other one there you'll see it's taken inside a roof cavity. In that roof cavity, you can see it's stamped and stamped with Hardie's Asbestolux. And here's a sheet of Asbestolux that was pulled out by an unsuspecting homeowner on their property. When we inspected it and actually had the words James Hardie, Asbestolux you can actually see it's very white and LDB. It's not a really dimple effect, I actually say it's similar to a hessian bag sort of finish. And you can see it's very fibrous.

Now the other photo on that site there, you'll see that's actually my brother in law's house. And in that house, he's got LDB throughout, but it's in good condition. It's painted, you've got timber cornice and quad fixing and architraves. There's no risks. Everything's okay. It's painted. There's no risk to health in that situation.

Here is the difference with Low-Density board, how we can tell they finish flush with the product where the specs of cement fibro board, you can see that now is actually protruding. And I was doing a light test with it and all I did was touch it with use. The screwdrivers just to make a little indentation. Is that soft. If I pushed any hard, I'd go right through the sheet where you can't do that with a proper cement based fibro product.

Now for more information to go to the asbestos website.

We also we've got a guide, which is what I've got here now in that guide.

It's got some very good information, but on Pages 22, 23 and 24, you've got some illustrations that actually tell you exactly where asbestos could be found in your home.

So that's the end of my presentation. Thank you, Chris.

Thanks, Stephen. Amazing just how many products asbestos or asbestos containing material can be found in. And as someone who might be doing some renovations to their home down the track, I'm a bit nervous now, so I'll have some questions for you even a little later on.

But if you do our audience have a question for Stephen. Don't forget to submit them via the chat box. We are having a panel discussion a little later on in our asbestos safety session here this morning.

Look, let's get to the third of our speakers and it is my pleasure to introduce Paul Johnstone, Director, Occupational Health, Hygiene and Asbestos, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Paul is going to give us an asbestos industry update. It's good morning to you, Paul, and welcome.

Thanks, Chris. So. My slide just disappeared. That's interesting.  

There you go. So what do we actually do? What does this team do that I have the privilege of leading? So what we do is respond to our reports, usually from LGAs. So LGAs is just referring to local government authorities whenever it takes over my brain. That word always think Town Council Shire Council city councils requiring assistance on reported events. So people ring in the line and say, Hey, look, I've seen this happen down the road is a contractor doing this or my neighbors having a go at this. It's a bit of a concern. Can you come and check?

We provide temporary controls, so somebody’s made a big mess. The asbestos everywhere, it looks like it snowed. We go in and put in controls to make safe cleanup, and we oversee the remediation works.

And the things we do is enforce the law, prosecution license, sanctions, people who are licensed, who are qualified, who should know better, who aren't doing the right thing and the last thing. Second, last thing we do is educate the community regarding asbestos and risk management. We deliver, inspect and training, which we've got a whole lot going on it now. It's really exciting and general upskilling, and we provide specialized technical advice to local government authorities.

So what that means is the inspector's trained, he's qualified. It's a little bit challenging. He rings our team and our team provides that high and technical advice for something that might be a little bit challenging from what they do on a day to day basis.

So on this one, not knowing where best to see is, you've got a link there and I really recommend going to have a look at it and some of the things we can do, as is, where is it?

So we've already heard from Stephen, he's shown you copious examples there of what you can see

and find and be aware of. So what do you do if in doubt, you call in the experts?

So investors can be found many places in Queensland and it's like, it's like Stephen has said it's a it's a naturally occurring mineral. It's very durable. It's been very reliable and broadly used in vehicles, plants, electrical switchboards, meters and products in buildings.

So cleaning asbestos roofs. Goodness me, the amount of rain that we have had in the last twelve months has been phenomenal and people have been home because of COVID. And they think, let's get up and have a crack and clean off that super six roof. Not a good idea. Not a good idea at all.

So what's happening? Getting out, using the high pressure washer and it literally snows fibres. And when I say it snows fibres, it's the neighbours on the left, the neighbours on the right. The neighbours in the behind the footpath. The road. It's a right disaster, particularly given one fibre, but can kill. So there's a short film there that I recommend. It's about three minutes in length that you can go on and have a look at. To give you an idea of what our team regularly looks at and it provides advice forward, it's been occurring far too much recently.

So on your left. That is a banana leaf. So one of my colleagues currently has that as the screensaver on his phone. Although each one of those little pieces you can see in some are too small to see of the eye are enough to make you ill and give you the disease, which is fatal.

You can see next on the right, you've got a chain link fence, and the only way to get that clean is it's all pull down. It's taken it away and disposed of in a controlled manner. It's not something you can wash off or vacuum off. It has to go.

So the implications of high water pressure on the roof. The garden had to be taken away, the soil is going to be dug up and taken away, it's phenomenal. It's not an easy fix.

You can see here look at the weeds in the garden. Number 9, it's on there. It's everywhere. That's why we just dig it all up and take it all away.

And on the right hand side, that is the waste that's being picked up. That was easily picked up and been put in bags and that needs to go away, be transported carefully and buried in a controlled manner. It's there forever.

In this picture, you can see at this property, the spread, it's on the road, so you can imagine if children are walking home from school, somebody is walking the dog. They are at risk. This is how big this this type of concern is on the left hand side. You can see the controls in place. So they've come and put the geo-technical fabric in because one of the the good things is when this was reported the incident, it was still wet. It hadn't dried out, so the wind wasn't picking it up and distribute it. Goodness knows where.

So we're able to come in quickly and put these controls in place, assess it and then start getting the quotations in were underway to come and do a big, big clean up.

So what we always must occur is you need to engage a licensed asbestos removalist to remove all and any asbestos. You cannot do this yourself. It is not a DIY. So you must at the very least comply with the law to engage to engage a licensed asbestos removalist to remove anything greater than 10m2. So to give you an example if you went to do your bathroom at home, that was most likely. Going to exceed this amount, so it's not something that we encourage at all to do. It's best to get the professional in who have the PPE, the RPE and lots of experience. And more than minor quantities of distance and dust is the other part.

So. Be aware you can be prosecuted or fined if you don't comply with the asbestos laws, you likely to be fined or prosecuted. It's going to be a very expensive and painful process.

These statistics I've got here relate to investigation outcomes that we have. You can see the ones here from 2017 to 2021. And given that it's a lag indicator in the way that we've had, I'm sure there's going to be many more incidents.  

Stephen just referred to this document. I absolutely love this document. I can tell you why. It reminds me of the house I grew up in. And when I look at it, the one mum and dad built it. I just click on.

It's interactive, even when I go under underneath and I look at where we parked our cars in the garage. The cladding around and the single slab with the concrete tubs on it is like home. But this is normal. The bathroom, the roof. Even the sewerage pipe vent up the side. It's a typical Queensland home.

People are renovating their lovely homes, but there's those risks there if you are not aware and you don't put the controls in place.

That's me, done.

Thanks, Paul. Appreciate that. And can I just say that I had a look at that publication, that house I grew up in a house exactly the same as that in Cannon Hill as a young fellow with my family in the 1970's. And the only difference for our house was that we had the timber battons down the side and it wasn't enclosed, but the laundry was downstairs. We had that tub. We had the upstairs. We had the panels that was our house almost to a tee and then mum and dad enclosed the bottom and did what we did in the 1970s. So that house probably still exists in quite a number of locations throughout Queensland and probably Australia.

Thanks to our 3 panel members for their very informative presentations. It's over to our audience now. Of course, it's not too late to submit your questions, particularly if you've got some arising from Paul and you haven't had a chance to type it in.

Go to the chat box type in your questions and Jodie, Stephen and Paul will answer our questions.

I'm going to do a question without notice because on the MC and I can and we'll get to the first of our questions very quickly. It's for you, Stephen. So I'll do a bit of homework first. My first question is and jump in, whoever wants to take this one is "The cost of...Repatriation versus you're in doubt about the cost of getting in a specialist removalist and you're 'umm-ing and argh-ing' it's going to cost me this much. But the possible repatriation, possible prosecution, possible loss of life for family or strangers, whoever it might be and the dangers that you pose. There's no question is of what to do.

No, Paul, we're really clear. So why would you risk your family, friends and the environment for this? So clean up? I'm going to be really blunt $27,000 to $100,000. We've seen that. But what can you put a price on your family having a ticking time bomb, getting this disease? So, yeah.

And Stephen, those shots of that, Paul showed us some of that debris from the pressure hose that had off a roof. Yes. As someone who's not seen that before, that's quite disturbing, that that's it where it ends up. And that is a danger to us. Yes, it is.

And it was one of the worst I've seen in my 40 year career. Mm-Hmm.

 

I've been working for over 25 years that ground was 'snow'. You can see the dandelions were actually white from the debris, from the product and of course, the the gentleman who actually high pressure water blasted that roof decided also to clean the driveway and pushed it onto the roads.And when he had done that, it was actually created more of a risk and where Paul had shown in one of his slides those bags of asbestos that was all obtained from the gully trap, the field gully trap from the road.

CHRIS: ..and I'm his neighbour. He's got that on my fence.

Yeah, and that was on the fence and the fence had to be disposed of as everything and all the grass and everything like that. So that was a cleanup cost for for that particular site is over $50,000 to make safe and the cleanup.

Now, if he were to actually the person would applied safe work procedures on that product and used a fungicide and the correct paint and captured the residue by using putting filter socks at the downpipeIt could have been about $5,000 to $6,000 paint job.

Well, there you go.

Yeah, that in explains it. And and Jodie, this is from a policy point of view, which is quite typical that people are making the wrong decisions based on a cost factor or whatever it might be, when in the end it could cost them five, six, ten times as much.

Absolutely, Chris.

When you think about this, you know asbestos is understood. It's known...It's not one of those hazards that people might not be aware of now because it's such a broad topic area. It's not just in the health and safety space, it's in the community space. It's in the public health space. It affects our environment. It is something that is well known. So we face, you know, small businesses every day of the week who are still trying to understand what they have to do in all bits of legislation.

And what does compliance look like? Asbestos is one of those things that is is well known across the community, so there's no real excuse at all for I didn't understand that. I didn't know that.

And there is so much information out there now to support and do that. You know, people talk about the cost of compliance. Well, the cost of life is as we would all agree. I don't think anyone would debate this. It's it's, you know, it doesn't even weigh up as you just said, Chris.

And you know, there are so many materials, as website says, including licensed asbestos removalists

As we have technical specialists and all of the regulators I mentioned before in my opening are also there to provide advice and support for those who choose to do the wrong thing, then you know they will get the hardest, you know, approach from the regulator in terms of our enforcement approach.

And that is the right thing to do for something that is such a high risk. We won't be lenient on this. We can't be.

And Jodie, you touched on it during your presentation. And just now again, it is really refreshing that the agencies have come together to work together as a collective because that is important that we're not all in our individual spaces.

 

We have come together to try and fight this battle on a united front. Yet we have to and you know, there's I think that this is an environment issue. This is a health and safety issue. You know, this is not this doesn't just affect one piece of government or one piece of the community, and we've got really clear roles and really clear legislation across all of those.

So we know who does what and when. We don't bump into each other. We make sure that when things occur, that we're there together and we're continually updating our own knowledge and information and keeping the standard high across the community.

That's what we're there to do to set that standard. Let's go to the questions from our viewers because there are a number we need to get to and the first one is for you, Stephen.

It comes from Simon and Simon asks at home. I have a bucket of broken, fibro bonded asbestos picked up from around my backyard. How do I dispose of it safely?

Well, the first thing to do is I'd leave that bucket as it is with the contents in it, and I'd go to a supplier that could supply asbestos waste bags. Get two of those and some duct tape placed that bucket with the contents don't emptied out because you could be actually creating a risk itself. Place it in the bucket to either bag, tie the bag up and then place it into another bag and then look for on your local council for a facility that they service that could actually accept asbestos waste. Or if you can't, or if the council doesn't accept asbestos waste, contact a licensed asbestos removalist and just phone them up and ask them, how much would it cost to remove that that product?

But it's got to be sealed in a bag.

Don't take it out of that bucket.

Just place it all in because you put yourself at risk of getting rid of the bucket to get rid of the bucket for a dollar bucket. Whatever it costs, it's just get rid of it.

Okay, so all right. Thanks, David.

This one's for you, Jodie from Astrid. She would like to know what's going to be in the new strategic plan. She wants a bit of a scoop, a bit of an insight into what's going on.

Well, this this is the second strategic plan. So as I mentioned in my opening, we've already had one. We've achieved a lot there. We've raised the standard and work together when we're on to our second one. We're in the final stages of that and it does align quite closely to the national plan.

So I know you want the scoop. And I'd love to give you the scoop, but it's you know, it will need to go through our normal government processes and get approved so it will talk about the roles. It will talk about the education.

It will talk about how it is moved and managed, and it will talk about how regulation and how we make sure that, you know, that's covered and making sure that it's setting the standard correctly. So it will have those really important commitments from each of the agencies. And we will work really closely together as we do as a collective group in a committee and make sure over that period of time of that plan, those things are implemented and put in place.

All right. Thanks for that.

Oh, disappointed you wouldn't give me the scoop, but anyway, I'll keep pushing.

 

I'll have to get a scoop from a different area, maybe an ice cream later on.

Yes, this one's for Stephen or Paul. It's from Jane. And she says, How do you clean an asbestos?And this is this is a pretty good question if you can't water blast it because that's the easiest way to do it.

It's not the safest and it's not the recommended way, but it's easy to get out there and go and get rid of all the stuff off your room and share it with your neighbours. You don't want to do that, particularly you don't like Oh no, no, no, no.

Look, look, Jane. The best way to do it is go to your local supply of paint supplies. You can ask them if they've got a recommended person that could actually do the work for you or you actually if you want to do it yourself. But there's a lot of steps that you'd have to follow. First thing is, you do have to because that liken and that mould that grows on your roof is actually encapsulates the roof.

You need to kill that liken first. So you need to use a fungus on which it settles that down and actually removes it slowly. But that's through natural way. Then you'd have to then look at getting up on the roof, which is, you know, it's a risk of falling. So we don't recommend that because the professionals have got ladders and scaffolding and that. To do that, you'd have to then disconnect your down pipes and your guttering. The guttering form because there's residue in the guttering and in damp pipes from residue from that roof. You need to fit a and capture all that. You need to fit filter socks. You'd have to use a hose, but without an attachment. Right? So it's just coming just naturally out of the house and just slightly wash the roof down, and that water will go into the gutter from the gutter into your filter socks. And by the end of that, that that's all captures all that material. Then you'd have to apply an acrylic primer and then go from there and then put your finished coat, so it's best to go to somebody that does it for a living. as suppliers of paint, you can go to ShieldCoat and NewTech. They're the main ones that actually got good products there that are actually designed for a supersix roof or cement based product.

And then, of course, that waste and that's that's collected at the bottom has to be then placed in asbestos bags and disposed of correctly to the nearest facility.

There's a big process, so I'd recommend somebody to go to a specialist that somebody that specialises those roof restorations.

This one's for you, Paul, and it comes from Peter. If I want to hire an asbestos removalist, how do I know they're actually licensed there? The real thing?

Great question. first thing is just because they say they are. That's not good enough. Ask them to prove it. So get them to give you their asbestos removalist licence and you can check on our website. And if you're not matching up, you can always telephone us and find out, and we can make sure that they are current and that they are the approved person to do that work. OK, so we often hear people saying, Yeah, I am, and they're exaggerating their qualifications, experience and certifications, or they don't have one at all. So please go through that safe check for yourself.

Another technical type question this one's from Emma. She says, My partner uses a hose to wash off bird poo from our fence. It's a weed fence and looks like the one you showed in the pictures earlier. Is this OK?

Look, if if, say, if they're washing the bird excrement off the fence, you can use the... Like I said, don't use high pressure. You can use the take the nozzle off the hose and just use the hose pressure like it just normally comes out and wash it off that way. That's the best way.

If the fence is not painted right, the best way is just don't scrub it whatever you do or use an abrasive action on it. So it's just just natural water. Let it fall off or just wait till it rains.

Like what's outside? It should be clean up just to go one step further from that question.

If you're a serial user and I'm not suggesting that I am, but I might be using your high pressure hose to clean your back deck. I've got a cement marble. You know some anything at the back exposed people.

Great. Right. And I'm using that.

Am I in any danger of expose exposing something you know from the side of the house wall? I'm not. As long as you're not using that high pressure water blast or on any asbestos cement based product, you should be fine.

Cement itself concrete does not have asbestos fibers in it.

Okay. And this one is for you, Steve, and again does all cement sheeting contain asbestos?

Asbestos cement sheeting... you look at the ban up until 1990. I'd say there would be a likelihood it will have asbestos content in it after 1990. The likelihood it will not have it now, they still manufacture products called VillaBoard and HardieFlex today, but it's asbestos free.

OK, here's one from Dan.

I have a super six roof which was damaged in a storm and we are about to hit cyclone and storm season. This is very important. How should I go about repairing it?

Look, it's the best way to do it. As if it is damaged is go to the insurance and just say you can get an assessor out or somebody that's competent in assessing that roof or a roof restorer. Get the roof restorer to come out there and have a look at it, but they need to be very cautious walking on the roof if it is damaged that actually they could actually fall through the roof depending on the type of asbestos. If it's a small profile, standard corrugated roof sheeting in the industry, they call that a suicide roof. It's very thin. You will go through it, but you're better off just having it assessed professionally and then claim it on the insurance will have a look at it.

Don't do it yourself, OK? Yep.

Sound advice Here's another technical type question from Chanda. If I don't touch the asbestos material, can I leave it as it says, board in the toilet? So they've clearly found a type of board?

Yes, and it's not been disturbed. Can you leave it there? Yeah.

If it's if there's no risk or no abrasive action, it's not going to affect you. So and again, despite it, if you if you're concerned, just paint. It's encapsulated.

You showed photos of your brother in law or your brother's house.

Yes, that's correct.

I remember if if you suspected asbestos, but it's in good nick and you merely have to put a lick of paint over the top of it. Is that okay?

You're not in any danger.

 

You are not at any danger. There's specific ways of preparing the paint. You can wash it down gently with a sugar soap rag. You can buy those products from Bunnings, which is a very, very popular store these days. And then all you do is just once that's removed, just slightly. Wash it down with that and then wipe it clean, and then you can apply your paint.

Paul, did you want to add to that?

No, I was happy to answer the next question, actually.

Well, Peter asked, Can you use high pressure water, high pressure water for vacuum excavation Water pipes and clearing a blockage in a sewer pipes.

Thanks, Connie. Hey, good question.

This is really topical because we've just had 2 local government authorities speak to us about this. So what they've done is one group has been really fantastic.They've rehearsed using vinyl pipe their technique and refine the technique that they want to use for that.

And they've got a whole bunch of controls in it. So they've come to us with a proposal. And what we've done with that particular proposal is the team, with Stephen's involvement have gone through the science and engineering behind that and looking at the controls in place.

And there's certain things that they've learned in the process of getting ready for it. There is a permit that we've issued and they have one month of which to collect data.

So they'll have an occupational hygienist on board and they'll be doing dosimetryfor the whole time in videos and still photos.

There's also a water authority that's going down a similar process, and we've given them a period of time which they'll be doing by having a hygiene, certified hygienist on site, and they'll be monitoring and giving us the dosimetry from that.

And of course, if there's anything reading during that time is concerned will stop.

But we're hoping to use that as a precedent from that data to move forward with the new techniques and strategies.

Now, team, we've mentioned a few times this morning about get the specialist to check it, get advice from a specialist, seek a specialist now.

Jason asks, Where do I get a sheet material checked for asbestos or I've broken a particle or I've started my reno's and I find some stuff. How can I get a check?

You're talking about getting it checked.

Well, the best way to do it is get involved and look into Mr Google, I suppose. But go and have a look for a NATA accredited lab and they'll and ask them, how would you go about of getting that sample analyzed?

They've got safety procedures on how to obtain that sample or get them to come out to visit you and get that sample for you.

Of course, there'll be a cost. It's not a free service.

And then I'll analyze it and you'll actually have a certificate of analysis.

Once it's been analyzed and I'll actually tell you exactly what the product is and what contains within that product.

Thanks to everyone for joining us this morning and for all their questions. This will be our last one.

And it's for you, Jodie. And it comes from Kevin.

And Kevin wants to know what does the IAG actually do, other than write a lot of plans?

So, Kevin, my question? Well, that's a great question, Kevin, and thank you for asking it.

Look, you're right. A plan is a plan, but it's only as important as what you do with it. We obviously, it shows the commitment that we're going to have to it and how we're going to do it and whose jobs, what. That's what the plan is about on a day to day basis. There's so many other things that those agencies do together.

So we when there's an incident, when something occurs and we go on site, you'll have local government there, you could have the environment science there. You will have multi agencies working together to make sure that that site is remediated. Because we have that such a strong relationship, we're clear when we get on site who does what, whose job it is to do.

We collectively work on capability and skills, making sure that we've got the right training in place for our license holders. We make sure that our people, our council offices, our inspectors, all different people in this space have the skills to be able to go out and do the job, to be able to enforce, to be able to provide advice and work together. We have work on remediation.

So when things we would make sure that things get remediated really quickly and cleaned up quickly because that's a really important part of it.We cannot leave something sit like you saw before in those those photos, you can't let it sit. So we have to make sure it gets cleaned up.

So we work together on that kind of stuff. We make sure that we're collectively putting new information on our website or our own through these types of processes to make sure that the latest updated information is there to.

So we do that together and we make sure that we're sharing information so we get one message out there. There's nothing worse than getting inconsistent stuff from across government and across agencies. So that group working together make sure that that message is really, really clear out there. And we're making it as simple as we can to make people to ensure people are safe because there's nothing worse than all that.And we also provide advice and we attend a lot of events and a lot of opportunities to get out into the community together.

So, yeah, the plan sort of, you know, it's the document that tells us what we're going to do and who does what, and it's really important that we make those commitments. But at the end of the day, it's the day to day stuff that that group of agencies who come together really work hard to make sure that we're keeping, you know, Queensland safe,right?

That brings us to a conclusion to our asbestos safety session. Question without notice for you three panellists to finish off with, as I always like to do with our presenters is. One quick key take home message from each of you. Remember, we're here for asbestos safety as part of Asbestos Awareness Week.

So one key message, Jodie, you can open the batting.

 

Don't guess when it comes to asbestos. Don't take. Don't take the risk and guess if you don't know. Reach out and get the information that we've talked about today and find out what you're dealing with.

 

CHRIS: Stephen?

STEPHEN: I agree with Jodie! The best thing to do if you're going to plan a renovation before you do anything, you investigate to see what's there and get a professional like somebody from a NATA accredited lab who does this finding out all the time where asbestos could be or somebody that's competent enough and doing it and get it in writing so you know exactly what you've got. And then when you decide to go to do the renovation, you can hand that document to the builder or whoever's doing the work and saying, this is what I've got here and it's the best way and it prevents exposure to you and your family.

Okay. And Paul, you can bring us on.

Ironically, asbestos is not going away. It's a health and safety and environmental concern. Don't risk it. One fibre. Don't take the chance. There's so many sources and resources you can reach out to use. You need to spend the money. You need to take the time, need to take the deep breath and engage the right people.

Very sound advice. Great way to finish.

And I'd like to say thanks to our panel panellists Jodie, Stephen and Paul. And Paul just mentioned about the resources.

I would encourage you to visit asbestos.qld.gov.au to access heaps and heaps of resources and other guidance material.

There it is all the contact details on your screens at the moment. You can learn all about asbestos. And if you've got more questions, get in contact with us and I'm sure we'll help out where we can.

Today's session was recorded. It'll be available at asbestos.qld.gov.au in the coming weeks. Make sure you share it with your friends and colleagues.

Spread the word about the fight against asbestos!

Shortly, we'll email you a feedback survey. We really value your feedback. It gives us an idea of what you're after. How we can improve our presentations and what we can deliver for you in the future.

Thanks for joining us today.  It's all about Asbestos Awareness Week and, of course, asbestos safety from all of us here at Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, as we say all the time.

Work Safe. Home Safe.