How to avoid risking your employees' health with asbestos

April 5, 2024

Thanks to the Health and Safety Act 2015, every employee has the right to the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks. This blog posts discusses the health risks of asbestos and how to avoid them.

The Act also outlines the role of a PCBU, the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking, as the main person responsible for health and safety duties. This person must ensure the health and safety of workers, as well as anyone else who might be impacted, such as customers or the general public.

So how can you, as a PCBU, help to minimise risks to those on site?

Be aware of the realities of asbestos in New Zealand

The first step in minimising the risk posed by asbestos is understanding it. 

To begin, asbestos is an incredibly dangerous proven carcinogen, and all forms of it are known to cause cancer. It is a naturally occurring mineral composed of many tiny fibres that are strong, fire and heat resistant, and highly resistant to wear and tear. As a result, asbestos was used in countless building materials across Aotearoa and the world until the health risks became evident. 

Today, that means that there are countless properties that still contain asbestos in New Zealand. So far, experts have identified more than 3,800 different building products that have contained asbestos, indicating just how widespread this issue is. If your business property was built prior to the 1990s, it’s very possible it is present on site.

Asbestos testing 

If you have an older property, you might consider asbestos testing

A professional will visit your worksite, take samples from various areas, and test those samples. The results can either give you peace of mind in knowing that there has been no asbestos found, or it might give you a game plan for what to do next. 

In some cases, the asbestos might be deemed as stable. This means it is not a current threat to health, although if the property was damaged or if you were to make renovations, that could destabilise the fibres and create a hazardous environment for all those on site. 

Alternatively, you might opt for professional asbestos removal. 

Asbestos removal

Expert asbestos removalists such as PRO Environmental Services offer reliable, efficient asbestos removal

With our highly trained and experienced staff, professional tools and commitment to risk minimisation, we can quickly work to remove and dispose of any asbestos on your work site. We also know that most businesses can’t afford to shut down for long periods of time, which is why we can work with you to find the most convenient times to carry out the project, and complete it as quickly as possible to ensure minimal business disruption. 

Contact us for a free quote or to learn more about avoiding the risk of asbestos exposure on your work site.