Why are asbestos services a priority now in New Zealand?

Asbestos is New Zealand’s number one killer in the workplace. Worldwide thousands of people die each year from asbestos-related diseases. Due to its strength, durability and resistance to fire and water, asbestos was widely used in building products and materials up until the late 1990s and is present in many buildings and workplaces.

Worksafe NZ introduced new regulations in 2016 which aim to minimise the health impacts of asbestos in workplaces. Businesses are now required to identify and implement appropriate asbestos management controls in accordance with the new regulations.

What are the roles and responsibilities for asbestos by businesses in New Zealand?

Under the asbestos regulations, owners or duty holders have a responsibility to identify and manage any asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM) that may cause risk in the workplace.

Some key elements of these requirements include:

  • Businesses have a responsibility to identify and manage any asbestos and ACM that may cause risk in the workplace
  • Any airborne contamination which exceeds the new standard must be addressed
  • Businesses are required to arrange independent testing through an accredited company/laboratory
  • Businesses are required to provide training and health monitoring for workers who may be exposed to asbestos in the workplace
  • Where asbestos or ACM is present in a workplace, businesses are required to implement and maintain a compliant Asbestos Management Plan and appropriate controls or removal.

Full detail of the legislation can be found on the WorkSafe NZ website

How do these asbestos regulations apply to you?

If you undertake work or manage a workplace which was built before the year 2000, there is a high probability that the property may contain asbestos or ACM. Under the new legislation, you are required to undertake measures to identify and address this risk.

How do you comply with New Zealand's asbestos regulations?

Asbestos assessments in New Zealand must be completed by a licensed assessor and tested through an accredited laboratory.