There’s no asbestos at my property, so why do I need an asbestos register?
This is a common question asked by sellers of commercial property in Australia. Often, owners of commercial property fail to see why they would need an asbestos register if they know they don’t have asbestos on their property. However, Australian law surrounding asbestos is strict, and even commercial buildings without asbestos present need to have an asbestos register.
The law and exceptions
Under section 425 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, people who own, control or manage a workplace have to create an asbestos register and make sure it is kept on the premises. However, there is an exception if the following three conditions are met:
- No asbestos has been found on the premises,
- The building was constructed after 31st December 1989,
- It’s unlikely asbestos will be present from time to time.
An asbestos register
Your asbestos register needs to include any asbestos or material containing asbestos found in the workplace or likely to be in the workplace sometimes. If you know that there is no asbestos or material containing asbestos in the workplace, the register must state this.
If you are selling your property, you are responsible for transferring the asbestos register to the new operator or owner. The register has to be handed over to the buyer on settlement – at the very latest. Failing to transfer a register or to have one in place will result in penalties of 36 penalty units.
If you’re unsure whether or not your commercial premises contains asbestos, you should get a professional asbestos inspection. Don’t just rely on your hunch that there’s no asbestos present. This material is highly dangerous to human health, so make sure you check for it properly and follow all procedures.
As a property owner, you must ensure you’re meeting all rules and regulations regarding asbestos. If you’re in any doubt about what you need to do, contact a lawyer with experience in the area of asbestos-related law.
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