Employment and Labour on key risks associated to handling asbestos

A management plan is key to risks associated to handling asbestos – Department of Employment and Labour

While the Asbestos Abatement Regulations 2020 does not prescribe the cut-off date for the removal of any asbestos containing material in workplaces, it is the duty of every employer to have a management plan in place.

Addressing stakeholders on the Asbestos Abatement Regulations, Department of Employment and Labour Specialist: Occupational Health & Hygiene Elize Lourens said every organisation need to develop its own policy and target date to remove the asbestos.

“Where the removal of asbestos or repair of asbestos-containing material is conducted, organisations need to have own management plan and inspectors need to see the plan when conducting inspections”, Lourens said.

She said an asbestos management plan was a critical component of a risk assessment plan.

According to the Asbestos Abatement Regulations 2020 – the asbestos management plan must include at least the following: a procedure that contains at least measures related to the repair, removal and management of asbestos-containing materials; and the implementation of the Regulations for Prohibition of the Use, Manufacturing, Import and Export of Asbestos and Asbestos-containing Materials.

The Regulations further specify that if asbestos-containing materials are identified, as required in regulation 3, the employer or self-employed person must ensure that a written asbestos management plan for the workplace is prepared by a competent person.

Lourens was speaking during the Asbestos Abatement Regulations workshop held at the Milnerton Public Library in Cape Town today, 04 August 2022. The workshop was part of a stakeholder engagement to provide a practical guidance to registered asbestos contractors and asbestos clients on the legislation and legal requirements.

Department of Employment and Labour Senior Specialist: Occupational Health and Hygiene Bulelwa Huna cautioned on the economic costs of poor OHS practices, saying this affects both employer and employee – in terms of medical and rehabilitation costs and for employees and the loss of income for employees. Huna said safety and health in the workplace is a fundamental right that cannot be taken or given away.

She reiterated that every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks. Huna said leadership plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of a health and safety management system.

Risk assessment was one of the key tools for improving OHS conditions at work – and this will contribute to the protection of employees by employers and minimise work related hazards.

The five step methodology in risk assessment include: identifying the hazards, identify who might be harmed, evaluate the risk, record who is responsible for implementing and record the findings.

For more information, contact:

Teboho Thejane – Departmental Spokesperson

Cell: 082 697 0694

Email: [email protected]

Source: Government of South Africa