Asbestos in Imports

Asbestos in Imports

Importation of Asbestos

In recent years, asbestos has been identified in a range of imported plant, equipment and construction material. Common components at higher risk of containing asbestos include friction components and gaskets. Construction materials with a fibrous component should also be assumed to be at risk.

The importation of all forms of asbestos is banned under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

Employers must ensure imported materials do not contain asbestos and if there is any uncertainty the imported materials are to be assessed by a competent person to determine the asbestos content.

Some imported materials are classified as asbestos free however the country of origin may not have the same stringent certification standards as Australia. An example of this being, in some locations even though there are trace amounts of asbestos it is permitted to be reported as asbestos free.

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Importation of Asbestos

International manufacturers are usually aware of Australia’s requirements and may attempt to allay any concerns of the importing business with written assurances or certificates supplied by local contractors to confirm a product is asbestos free. The reporting guidelines of these local contractors may allow for reporting of materials as asbestos free as per the previous example, this therefore does not provide the confidence required for the importer.

OHMS Asbestos can help mitigate the risk by assessing the materials due for importation at the point of origin. We can also assess materials upon arrival in Australia before release. As it is the responsibility of the importer to ensure the goods do not contain asbestos, it can be commercially beneficial to assess the material before entering Australia. If materials are found to contain asbestos without appropriate permission, they will be seized at the border by the Australian Border Force (ABF).

The Government of Western Australia and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety have developed an asbestos in plant checklist to assist companies when importing plant from outside of Australia.

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