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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Asbestos Management

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to make sure schools are aware of their health and safety obligations relating to asbestos management and comply with regulatory and Department requirements for asbestos management by implementing a School Asbestos Management Plan for each campus.

Summary

  • The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 (Vic) requires the Department to provide or maintain systems of work and a working environment that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health.
  • The OHS Regulations 2017 (Vic) requires the Department to manage risks associated with Asbestos Containing Material.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must control any risks associated with Asbestos Containing Material developing, implementing and maintaining a School Asbestos Management Plan.
  • The School Asbestos Management Plan contains step-by-step instructions and guidance for the principal and/or their delegate to follow to properly manage the risks associated with asbestos containing material.
  • Under the OHS Act, employees while at work must take reasonable care of their own health and safety.

Details

Identification of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), labelling and records 

The principal or their delegate and/or asbestos coordinator must ensure that:

  • the school has a current Division 5 Asbestos Audit Report dated within the last 5 years
  • school buildings are labelled to indicate the presence of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). If labels need replacement, please contact the Department’s 24-hour Asbestos Make Safe hotline on 1300 133 468
  • the school has an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Label Register
  • quarterly visual inspections of workplace facilities, where ACM and asbestos labels have been identified and recorded (refer to Division 5 Asbestos Audit Report), are undertaken and scheduled in the OHS Activities Calendar
  • the results of each visual inspection are recorded on the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Label Register, respectively, including any recommended actions
  • all records are retained permanently

The School Asbestos Management Plan

The principal and/or their delegate are required to have a current School Asbestos Management Plan (SAMP) regardless of whether or not there is any known or assumed ACM on the school site.

The SAMP forms part of the school Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) and is a documented outline of how ACM must be managed in accordance with this policy, including what types of materials will be managed, when and how this will be done and who has responsibility.

The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that the SAMP is reviewed annually.

Schools can download a SAMP template to use (also available under the Resources tab). 

Communication of ACM

  • The principal  or their delegate and/or the asbestos coordinator must communicate the information within the Division 5 Asbestos Audit Report and SAMP as per the OHS Consultation and Communication Policy. As a minimum communication must occur with:
    • Health and Safety Representatives (HSR)
    • Health and Safety Committee (if applicable)
    • employees (for example, teachers, casual relief teachers, student support officers)
    • volunteers
    • contractors
  • The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that all employees (including casual relief teachers and student support service officers), volunteers and contractors are annually inducted using the OHS Induction Checklist.

Management of ACM

The principal and/or their delegate must:

  • appoint an asbestos coordinator. The asbestos coordinator becomes the main point of contact for asbestos-related matters at the school, under the direction and control of the principal or their delegate. In the absence of an asbestos co-ordinator the principal takes on this responsibility
  • ensure they and the asbestos coordinator undertake asbestos awareness training, by:
  • ensure that all training is recorded on the OHS Training Planner / Register
  • ensure that damaged asbestos labels are replaced
  • respond quickly to asbestos-related incidents. The principal or their delegate and/or the asbestos coordinator must call the Department’s 24-hour Asbestos Make Safe hotline on 1300 133 468 to report any occurrences where disturbed, damaged, degraded or suspected ACMs have been identified
  • ensure that all incident(s) related to suspected exposure to ACM are reported on eduSafe (for example, employee exposure to ACM)
  • ensure they manage ACM in soils

Removal of ACM

To ensure the principal or their delegate/ or the asbestos coordinator understands and complies with all of the regulatory and Department requirements, the Department must be contacted prior to commencing any asbestos removal works at the school by contacting the asbestos reform team, email: asbestos.reform@education.vic.gov.au

In addition, the principal or their delegate / or the asbestos coordinator is required to organise and fund a Division 6 Hazardous Building Materials Audit before undertaking works that may include demolition, refurbishment, installation of new equipment, hanging displays, painting, soil works, excavation works and so on.

For more detailed information, the principal or their delegate and/or the asbestos coordinator must refer to their SAMP.

Definitions

Asbestos Containing Material (ACM)
Any manufactured material or object that, as part of its design, contains one or more of the fibrous forms of mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine or amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals, including actinolite, amosite (brown asbestos), anthophyllite, crocidolite (blue asbestos), chrysotile (white asbestos) or tremolite.

Examples of ACM include: asbestos-containing cement sheets, cement pipes, vinyl tiles, sprayed insulation, telecommunications pits, pipe lagging, millboard and gaskets.

For further details, visit the Australian Government - Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Asbestos Coordinator
A person who is responsible for the safe management of ACM within the workplace who, by default, is the school principal. It can also be a suitable person appointed by the school principal. The asbestos coordinator is the main contact for asbestos-related issues in the school.

Asbestos Register
The asbestos register contains current information about the existence and location of any known or presumed ACM on the school site, based on an initial Division 5 Asbestos Audit Report and subsequent quarterly visual inspections to update the register.

Division 5 Asbestos Audit
A visual inspection conducted by an Occupational Hygienist at least every five years to identify the existence, location and condition of any known or assumed ACM on the school site. Results of the audit are reported in a Division 5 Asbestos Audit Report.

Division 6 Hazardous Building Materials Audit
Mandated sampling required of suspected ACM (where there is uncertainty) to verify the existence of asbestos prior to work commencing in an affected area of the school. Results of this sampling are documented in a Division 6 Hazardous Materials Audit Report.

eduSafe Plus
The Department’s online hazard and incident reporting and management application, accessible on the intranet. Employees log on using their employee number and password.

School Asbestos Management Plan (SAMP)
A school asbestos management plan is a documented outline of how asbestos in each school will be managed

Relevant legislation

Department policy on health and safety obligations relating to asbestos management in schools, including information on fill on school sites

Reviewed 14 April 2021

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