Asbestos products in Australia

July 13, 2016 at 9:27 AM

The CFMEU has issued a National Safety Alert after Klingerit 200 which contains the banned substance chrysotile asbestos was found on a building site in Queensland. Tests on the material revealed an asbestos level of 60%. 

Most Klingerit products, produced by the Alpha Group in Thailand contain asbestos. Klingerit 200 is a thick paper used to wrap around metal to stop noise.

The company responsible is Yuanda who are well known for this type of work and are currently working on three sites in South Australia – University of Adelaide, Adelaide Hospital and one other. It's not yet known if this material has been used at these other sites. The CFMEU are currently investigating. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) have been notified, and the appropriate protocol put in place which means that Customs now have to search their records to find out how much of this material has been brought in to Australia.

All types of asbestos were prohibited in Australian workplaces from 31 December 2003. This ban is reflected in work health and safety (WHS) laws in all jurisdictions. In summary, the prohibition on the use of asbestos in Australia is supplemented by the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations), which bans the importation of all types of asbestos and products containing asbestos, except under limited circumstances.

The World Health Organisation in its report on chrysotile asbestos states that "all types of asbestos cause cancer in humans". Asbestos (actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite and tremolite) has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as being carcinogenic to humans. 

WHS legislation in all states and territories prohibits work involving asbestos including the supply, transport, use, or handling of asbestos unless an exception applies; for example, the removal or transport of asbestos in accordance with regulatory requirements of that state or territory.