A new workplace health and safety asbestos regulation came into effect in April of this year. This effects mostly commercial property owners but also residential property owners as well.
The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 mean that property owners with a property which is operating as a workplace must not only identify whether asbestos is present but have an asbestos management plan in place.
Asbestos is a health hazard and is New Zealand’s single largest cause of deaths from work-related disease.
The new regulations mainly apply to commercial properties, but they also apply to residential properties in certain situations, for example if the property is undergoing renovation, repair or maintenance work.
According to Asbestos Survey Assessment managing director Frank MacCullaich there are three golden rules to help you understand these new laws and whether they affect you.
Landlords need to know whether their property has any asbestos and if so what, where, how much and what condition it is in.
Then they need to ensure that their tenants and other property users are not exposed to the risk of friable asbestos. Asbestos that is damaged.
Finally, they must have an asbestos management plan which must be kept up-to-date, reflecting any change in circumstances, and available to anyone carrying out work on the property.
The should include information on where the asbestos is, what timetable is in place to leave or remove it, and what policies and procedures workers and tenants need to follow.
There is significant proportion of New Zealand buildings, both industrial and residential, that are likely to contain some form of asbestos, especially those built between 1940 and 2000 as the use of asbestos or ACM was not fully banned until 2016.
As a landlord, the main thing to remember is that if the asbestos is in good condition, and unlikely to be disturbed, it may not present a significant risk. If it is damaged or in poor condition, then you may want to get it checked out.
That means if a landlord has no plans to do work on a property and has taken “reasonable care” to establish there is no asbestos or ACM in a poor condition you can carry on as usual.
If you have an area that you intend to complete work on which is more than 10m2 area of asbestos or ACM then as a landlord you would be under these new regulations.
If you feel you have damaged or poor condition asbestos or ACM we would advise to contact (or we can do it for you) a professional asbestos surveyor to undertake a management survey report, compile an asbestos register, and implement a comprehensive asbestos management plan. Please note you can not remove the asbestos yourself as this requires a qualified remover with a Class A or B license.
With these new regulations check out https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/asbestos/ for more details.