Asbestos is a name given for six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These minerals were found to have excellent physical properties which made them ideal additives to building materials. From the 1930s to the 1980s, raw asbestos was imported to New Zealand and was either used raw or manufactured into asbestos contain materials (ACMs).
Asbestos fibres are very small and can get stuck in the lungs. Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious medical conditions, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. The importation of raw asbestos into New Zealand was officially banned in 1999, however importation of ACMs continued until October 2016.
Many ACMs remain in place in New Zealand today. ACMs in poor condition can release asbestos fibres into the air that may be inhaled, potentially causing asbestos-related diseases.
An asbestos survey will locate, so far as is reasonably practicable, all ACMs within a building. This is ideal for property owners to determine if asbestos is present or absent in their property.
An asbestos management survey aims to locate ACMs in order to manage them. This type of survey is non-intrusive, so any inaccessible ACMs may not be located (e.g in a wall cavity). A management survey also involves an assessment of the condition of ACMs in order to estimate an ACM's potential to release fibres.
An asbestos management survey by Forensic & Industrial Science Ltd is thorough enough to assist in preparing an asbestos management plan as required by the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations (2016).
Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys
The other type of asbestos survey is a refurbishment and demotion survey. This is a very intrusive asbestos survey that aims to locate all ACMs in a building/area if that building/area is to be demolished or refurbished. This type of survey will locate all asbestos and ACMs in a building/area so they can be removed prior to refurbishment or demolition works commencing. Refurbishment and demolition surveys a very important step to take prior to refurbishment or demolition works, as if there is asbestos or ACMs hiding within a building, the contractors performing the refurbishment or demolition will have their health placed directly at risk.
The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations (2016) aim to limit workplace exposure to asbestos by listing many requirements for workplaces to follow. Many responsibilities fall on the Peron Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) in charge of a workplace, such as the duty to identify asbestos in the workplace, the duty to prepare an asbestos management plan and the duty to remove asbestos prior to demolition or refurbishment. Please refer to our document for more information on the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations (2016).
An excellent first step for a PCBU in charge of a workplace to take in tackling the Asbestos Regulations is to organize for a management survey to be undertaken. Management surveys by Forensic & Industrial Science Ltd will provide all relevant information in relation to asbestos found in the workplace to be included in the asbestos management plan. We can also consult directly with the company and assist in preparing an asbestos management plan or answer any questions in relation to the Asbestos Regulations.