The dangers of asbestos: What you need to know

We don’t need to tell you that asbestos is a big deal. The dangers of the substance are common knowledge. And knowledge is power, in this case, more so than most: the power to save lives.

With this in mind, we’d like to give you some basic information on the dangers of asbestos, where it can be found and what you can do to avoid it.

What are the different types of asbestos?

There are two types of asbestos:

  • Friable (Class A): crushed or in a dust form, such as paper backing on vinyl or pipe lagging
  • Non-friable (Class B): found in bonded products such as cement sheet and guttering.

Why is it so dangerous?

Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause a range of irreversible damage and diseases. Damage may occur in as little as five years or as long as 40-50 years later. Many people will not realise they have been exposed until it’s too late.

Where can it be found?

Approximately one third of all homes in Australia contain asbestos products. On 31st December 2003 asbestos was banned in Australia. Therefore any building constructed up until then has a high probability of containing asbestos. Remember, if you’re planning to renovate or partially demolish a building, have a survey done first to identify if asbestos containing material is present. If it is, contact your local Licensed asbestos removalist.

Is tere a safe way to dispose of asbestos?

Yes – as long as strict guidelines are followed. Bagging and wrapping asbestos pieces is essential in any sort of removal – and dumping asbestos-containing materials can only be done on authorised sites. We advise you to leave this to the Licensed asbestos removalists.

What more can you do?

Recognition means everything when it comes to asbestos. From sticking up posters on-site to equipping your team with knowledge of asbestos dangers through the HazardCo app, educating your workers could be the difference between life and death.

There are many asbestos awareness and training courses available online and face to face for further education and training.


Got Questions? Reach out to the HazardCo Health and Safety Advisory Support Team on 1800 954 702 to talk it over.


Asbestos Resources

WorkSafe Vic

WorkSafe QLD

SafeWork NSW

SafeWork SA

WorkSafe TAS

WorkSafe NT

Worksafe ACT

WorkSafe WA

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