1 COMCARE ASBESTOS FORUM Monday 26 November 2012 ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT REVIEW Geoff Fary Chairman
2 Asbestos Naturally occurring mineral 3 main types: Blue (crocidolite), Brown/grey (amosite) and White (chrysotile) Characteristics - Fireproof - Corrosion proof - Insulator (heat and electricity) - Malleable - Termite proof - Waterproof - Lightweight Used for thousands of years Extensive use in 20 th century after WW2 Australia world s largest user per capita
4 Asbestos containing products include: Fire blankets and curtains Insulation in heaters and stoves Roof shingles or tiles (external or ceiling), corrugated asbestos cement roofing sheets (Super Six) and ceiling insulation products Ceiling panels Pipes, tubes or fittings (e.g. flue pipes) and lagging or jointing materials Asbestos tape or rope, electrical cloths and tapes, mastics, sealants, putties, adhesives, and heat-resistant sealing and caulking compounds Textured paints/coatings and asbestos bitumen damp-proofing products Compressed, rubberised or polymerised asbestos fibre gaskets and seals Floor coverings (e.g. vinyl asbestos tiles) and the backings of linoleum Asbestos cement (fibro) sheeting Brake pads and clutch facings Lining for bathrooms and shower recesses Electrical panel and fuse box partitioning
5 Asbestos containing products
6 Asbestos containing products
7 Respirable (airborne) asbestos Fibres can cause disease when breathed in
8 Asbestos related diseases Pleural plaques Asbestosis Lung cancer Mesothelioma Other cancers
9 Australian limits and bans 1982 mining and processing of blue and grey asbestos 1987 all forms banned in building and construction 2003 total ban on import and export of asbestos containing products
10 Asbestos related deaths 8,000 meso until 2004 (16,000+ lung cancer) Estimated 40,000+ by 2020 Diagnosis increasing and broadening (the 3 rd wave ) WHO estimates more than 100,000 employment related deaths worldwide every year
11 Asbestos related deaths Australian mesothelioma deaths Females Males 500 Number of deaths Year
12 Some facts Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will contract a disease Diseases are contracted by breathing airborne fibres bonded or encapsulated asbestos is less dangerous But, a small exposure can kill the WHO has stated that there is no safe exposure limit
13 Key drivers of the review Need for a visionary approach but with practical and achievable outcomes Not another report that would collect dust in Canberra An outcome where most stakeholders could agree with most recommendations and could live with those with which they didn t agree Underpinned by the dignity and determination of those with ARDs
14 Consultations and Submissions More than 80 key stakeholders consulted: Victims and support groups State and federal government agencies Unions and employers Research organisations Local government And a few others Around 60 submissions: Many areas of agreement: A few differences: A extraordinary amount of goodwill and support; and real hope that we came up with something that was practical, realistic and acted upon!
15 Specialist Advisory Group Member Jim Barrett Paul Bastian Lindsay Fraser Rob Guthrie Tim Hammond Sylvia Kidziak Bruce Robinson Tanya Segelov Nico van Zandwijk Organisation Australian Contractors Association Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union John Curtin University Francis Burt Chambers SL Engineering National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases Turner Freeman Asbestos Disease Research Institute
16 Key areas of agreement Public Awareness/Education Improved awareness/education. High levels of confusion/lack of knowledge. Broader - and better targeted info needed. Removal, handling, storage and disposal Need to ensure that laws are consistent, effective and apply to those most at risk. DIY renovators particularly at risk; need to prevent inadvertent exposure.
17 Key areas of agreement (cont.) Reporting and data Gaps in knowledge - and existing data not being used effectively. Location: if you can t measure it you can t manage it. Import/Export controls Some slipping through despite the 2003 ban. Mislabelling. Coordination Information, advice and regulation is fragmented and confusing. Need to ensure focus and consistency.
18 Key areas of disagreement Total removal v management in situ An Asbestos Free Australia, or Remove what s friable and monitor what s not. DIY Provide information and kits for safe DYI removal, or Restrict it to licensed professionals.
19 The Big Questions Should there be a new national agency role, function and relationship to existing agencies? Availability of data? Does the increase in natural disasters mean that previous approaches should be reviewed?
20 Fundamentals of the report Aim high National leadership required Holistic approach necessary
21 Recommendations (an even dozen!) 1. The Australian Government take the lead advocate a National Strategic Plan 2. Aim: To prevent exposure to asbestos fibres in order to eliminate asbestos-related disease in Australia. Priority areas: Identification Management Logistics Awareness Education Information sharing. 3. Identify the location, and assess the condition, of ACMs in government and commercial property and disposal sites: Asbestos Content Reports (ACR) with labelling in residential properties Administered by the relevant local council, with each being responsible for maintaining a database for their area.
22 Recommendations (cont.) 4. Removal from government and commercial buildings and structures by with limited exemptions: Investigate prioritised removal; For application by government and commercial building owners by 2030; and The feasibility of a future prioritised removal program for residential properties. Nationally consistent laws, policies and procedures; Only licensed operators to undertake handling, removal, storage, transport and disposal (with exemptions for specified occupations), and Incentives to property owners to enable and encourage safe removal and disposal. 5. Review the adequacy of existing infrastructure and systems: Initiatives to encourage safe storage and disposal; and Incentives for reporting of illegal sites. 6. Program to improve public awareness 7. Education campaigns for those working with asbestos
23 8. Better data and information: Recommendations (cont.) National database of locations. Improved epidemiological data including supporting the Australian Mesothelioma Registry and looking at including lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Better sharing of information and data Monitoring developments in research - locally, nationally, and internationally to improve the National Strategic Plan. 9. Establishment of the Australian Asbestos Awareness and Management Agency 10. Funding for a coordinated national research effort into preventing or curing asbestos-related disease - particularly meso. 11. Campaign for a total worldwide ban; Contribute towards the global elimination of asbestos-related diseases, and More effectively control the entry of ACMs into this country. 12. Government should remediate properties where ACMs were introduced during a period of compulsory acquisition.
24 The report appears to have bipartisan support. Minister Shorten has accepted the recommendations in principle - and asked his department to come up with an implementation strategy.