What Australia requires for the protection from asbestos on ships
Jan 13, 2016 5:10:00 PM
AMSA has issued a new Marine Notice to draw the attention of operators and ship owners to the ongoing prohibition of asbestos on ships, noting that Australian law requires operators to take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety at work of employees and contractors.
Ships to which the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 applies
An exception has been made under the Regulations (2.08 and Schedule 2, column 3) for ‘in situ’ asbestos. This is asbestos that has been fixed or installed in a ship (or any other structure that forms a maritime workplace) or a plant (or any other thing that is used in a maritime workplace) before 31 December 2003 in such a way that it will not constitute a risk unless the asbestos is disturbed.
In situ asbestos on ships must be appropriately identified and managed using an asbestos management plan to assess, control and mitigate any risk from asbestos as described in Part 2 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) (National Standards) Regulations 2003. Additional guidance is provided in Part 8 of the Guidance on prohibition on the use of asbestos in workplaces in the Seacare jurisdiction and Safe Work Australia’s Code of Practice – How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace.
Despite the above, the best outcome is the complete removal of asbestos and asbestos containing materials from ships. Any work on the removal or disposal of asbestos is to be done in accordance with the State or Territory legislation. Operators and owners should contact the relevant State or Territory Workplace Health and Safety regulator to ensure that removal work is done as per the applicable legislation and relevant Code of Practice.
↑ Despite the requirement to eliminate the presence of asbestos, it continues to be found in existing as well as newly built / delivered ships.
Asbestos containing components may also find their way into a ship during operational maintenance. This highlights the need for vigilance and periodic re-inspection of maintenance and refit works.