Operators need to be aware of the prohibition of asbestos on ships, where Australian law requires operators to take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of employees and contractors while at work. In-situ asbestos has been fixed, installed or forms part of plant/items in a ship (or maritime workplace) before 31 December 2003 in a form that will not constitute a risk unless its disturbed. It should be identified and managed to ensure the risks posed are assessed, controlled and mitigated as described in the Maritime Occupational Safety and Health Regulations.
To avoid quarantine, ship owners should ensure that any asbestos on Australian ships or structures is identified prior to entry into Australian Waters.
Operators can contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to enquire that appropriate inspection and certification measures are in place prior to a ship entering Australia. The Australian Border Force do not acknowledge an “Asbestos Free” Certificate which can be issued as part of a build. As this certificate is not deemed sufficient, OHMS Asbestos can assist in order to provide the required certification. Asbestos components may also by utilised during operational maintenance. This highlights the need for vigilance when undertaking maintenance in international waters and the need for testing prior to installation. Periodic re-inspection and a stringent management plan will also help reduce the issues described.
OHMS can assist with:
- auditing of construction materials;
- inspection for ‘in situ’ asbestos and development of registers in both domestic and international waters;
- re-inspections of asbestos registers;
- asbestos awareness training for stakeholders;
- remediation training for operational staff improve knowledge of approved methods for removal in emergency maintenance situations;
- asbestos fibre air monitoring and clearance inspections following remediation works; and
- online database for the management of asbestos registers and storage of related documentation.