THE SOUTH Australian Government will retain provisions that require air quality monitoring to be in place for all asbestos removals within its new work health and safety regulations.

The Minister for Industrial Relations Russell Wortley was speaking at the launch of the inaugural Asbestos Awareness Week. He said the State Government has no intention of using new model Regulations under the Work Health and Safety Bill to diminish standards for the safe removal of asbestos especially in regard to air monitoring.

South Australia will retain the existing arrangements on ‘Class B’ air monitoring provisions for a transitional period of 12 months.

This licence class relates to work involving the removal of non-friable asbestos, which is asbestos that is usually bonded into a solid material, and cannot be crushed by hand when dry.

Improvements for the asbestos removal industry arising from the model regulations include:

Improved competency of asbestos workers and supervisors who undertake licensed asbestos removal, through mandatory training;

Improved competency of supervisors through requiring 3 years relevant experience for Class A supervisors and 1 year for Class B supervisors;

Increased supervision of licensed work through requiring supervisors to be on-site for Class A asbestos removal work (and readily available for Cl

Improved licensee safety requirements such as limited access to removal areas, signage, and appropriate decontamination facilities and disposal of waste including personal protective equipment;

Stronger requirements for site decontamination, requiring clearance inspections and clearance certificates for all licensed work;

Improved competency of asbestos assessors through requiring independent asbestos assessors to hold appropriate qualifications;

Stronger requirements for asbestos to be identified and to be assumed as such if the material can not be identified;

Extensive requirements for identifying and removing asbestos prior to any demolition or refurbishment;

Immediate notification to the Regulator if respirable asbestos fibre levels exceed 0.02 f/ml;

Provision of health monitoring for all asbestos removal workers who have a risk of being exposed;

Requiring an asbestos management plan for all asbestos identified on site and;

New requirements for the management of naturally occurring asbestos including the requirement for an asbestos management plan and training.