A recent study of the efficacy of asbestos regulations in Australia asserts that more needs to be done to protect those working in the removal, transport and disposal of this hazardous material.
Dr Sittimont Kanjanabootra and report author Francis Grennan from the University of Newcastle, NSW, analysed research on the effectiveness of current asbestos regulations across the country, and their impact for those working in the hazardous waste removal, transportation and disposal sectors.
To try and understand the effectiveness of regulatory change relating to asbestos use in Australian construction, the researchers examined data from the NSW Dust Diseases Board – which provides compensation to workers disabled by a work-related dust disease – together with data from several studies published between 2010 and 2013.
The researchers conclude that regulations are having a positive effect on asbestos exposure levels, but the risk to those working in hazardous waste is still evident, though decreasing. They identify issues around the proper, safe handling of asbestos-contaminated construction materials, especially by self-employed operators and home owners.
They conclude that there is a renewed need for re-education and further access to training for all those whose professional work or DIY practices could expose them to asbestos in known or unknown circumstances.