Asbestos

This page provides a general overview of planned arrangements for managing asbestos containing material at the University.

Asbestos-containing building materials have been used in the past in a large number of applications, especially in the 1950s to mid-1970s. Consequently, many university buildings contain asbestos products. These products do not pose risk to health unless the material is disturbed, leading to the release of airborne asbestos fibres.

Please note: The following forms are updated frequently. Please access the forms from this page and do not store a local copy to avoid using outdated forms.

Hazards

For a long time, the dangers of asbestos were not widely understood, but it is now well known that exposure can cause pleural plaques and thickening, asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The scale of health risks associated with asbestos became publicly known after it had been widely used and many people had already been exposed. Asbestos-related diseases generally have a delay or lag period of about 20 to 40 years between first exposure and the onset of symptoms and detection of disease.

Asbestos becomes a health risk when fibres are released into the air and inhaled. It is unusual for an asbestos-related disease to develop from a single exposure. Generally a large, ongoing exposure to asbestos fibres is required.

Source: SafeWork SA

Risk management

The University, through the Facilities Management Unit (FMU), has an ongoing program of asbestos management, that will continue (until as far as reasonably practicable to do so) until all asbestos is eliminated from UniSA occupied buildings. The University maintains campus asbestos registers to record location, type and condition of any asbestos-containing materials found to be present within university buildings. Any known asbestos-containing materials are labelled with a safety warning and appropriate Standard Operating Procedures implemented to control any work that may lead to disturbance of these materials. The University engages contractors who are licensed to remove asbestos-containing materials. These contractors are approved by the University and are included on the Contractor Register.

  • Warning signs, as displayed above must be observed and followed prior to any building work commencing.
  • Local areas must be aware of the implications of engaging a contractor to undertake work that is not on the University Contractor Register.
  • If you have any asbestos concerns or a need to engage a contractor locally, contact the FMU, Manager Maintenance and Technical Services for advice and further action required. An example may include engaging a contractor to install a General Power Outlet (power point) in a wall with an asbestos warning label displayed

Policy

References and resources