Hazardous Building Materials may be present in buildings and other structures constructed before the early to mid 1980′s. Hazardous Building Materials can include:

  • Asbestos containing materials
  • Synthetic mineral fibre (SMF) products
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Lead based paint systems
  • Ozone depleting substances [e.g. chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)]
  • Mould and fungi
  • Crystalline silica
  • Radon Ionising radiation sources
  • Anti-fouling systems [e.g. tri-butyl tin (TBT) compounds]
  • Mercury compounds
  • Pesticides and herbicides

These hazardous materials can present serious health risks to workers, visitors and the general community, if they are not identified and maintained in a good and stable condition, and appropriate procedures are not established.
Hazardous Materials legislation, guidelines and codes place obligations on property owners, property managers and occupiers of the workplace, employers, employees and others.
Property owners, property managers and occupiers have responsibilities with respect to the control of hazardous materials in their workplace. These responsibilities include:

  • Identification of hazardous materials;
  • Risk assessment and prioritisation of controls for hazardous materials;
  • Preparation of a register of the types, condition and location of hazardous materials;
  • Labelling of hazardous materials;
  • Development of a hazardous materials management plan or procedures;
  • Periodical inspections of the hazardous materials;
  • Implementation of appropriate risk control measures to ensure that workers, contractors and others are not exposed to hazardous materials within their workplace. These controls may include: (i) removal, (ii) enclosure behind barriers, (iii) encapsulation / sealing and (iv) safe work procedures and in situ management;
  • Provision of information to staff, tenants and contractors through training, induction and awareness;
  • Record keeping

Owners, managers and employers should know the answers to the following key questions about hazardous materials:

  • Are hazardous materials present in the building or workplace?
  • Are the hazardous materials labelled?
  • Do the hazardous materials pose any health risk to the occupants?
  • Is any remedial action required (e.g.; removal or repair of any damaged asbestos material)?
  • Has a formalised Hazardous Materials Risk Management programme been developed and implemented for the building?