Naturally Occurring Asbestos Management Plan Guide - 24 January 2018

With the recent launch of the Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Management Plan Guide Council is offering landowners and property manager’s free copies of the new resource developed to help people living and working in rural and regional NSW to effectively manage Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) safely.

NOA occurs in some rocks, sediments and soils in various regions of NSW including the Oberon Council Local Government Area. If covered and left undisturbed, NOA is not considered dangerous. However, if disturbed and microscopic fibres become airborne or settle on clothing or equipment and can be inhaled, NOA can cause incurable diseases including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. The more fibres inhaled, the greater the risk to health.

While only one percent of land in NSW is believed to contain NOA within 10 metres of the ground’s surface, in our region where NOA is known, property owners, managers and workers who may disturb the ground surface during their day-to-day work must take appropriate precautions to ensure NOA is identified and managed safely in accordance with regulations. 

The user-friendly Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Asbestos Management Plan Guide explains the reasons why people must manage NOA safely, when and where NOA may pose a potential health risk, who to contact for advice, and the steps required to manage NOA safely in accordance with NSW Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2017 and the Codes of Practice for asbestos management.

Although the guide is free and can be downloaded from asbestosawareness.com.au, Council is offering a limited number of printed copies to property owners and managers of smaller properties to help them develop and maintain a NOA Asbestos Management Plan.

The Guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to determine if a property lies within a high, medium or low probability of NOA area.  Instructions include how to conduct risk assessments, when, why and who should conduct testing, the training requirements for workers, safe work procedures, control measures, and how to dispose of NOA according to government regulations. 

User-friendly templates are also provided including; property and site specific risk assessments, incident procedures and reports, worker training records and Fact Sheets on how to use and dispose of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as providing step-by-step decontamination procedures.

If we disturb NOA and fibres are released into the air that can be inhaled, it can be just as dangerous to our health as when we disturb asbestos products commonly found in homes and farm structures. It’s vital that those living and working on properties where NOA has been identified follow the regulations and take every precaution to ensure they don’t disturb NOA and generate fibres that can lead to incurable diseases such as malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer.

The Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Asbestos Management Plan Guide was developed by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA) in consultation with key stakeholders including Councils and SafeWork NSW while the NSW Government’s online mapping tool can help landowners and managers identify if their property lies within a high, medium or low probability region for NOA.

To obtain a free copy of the Naturally Occuring Asbestos  - Asbestos Management Plan Guide visit the Oberon Council Administration Centre or download on the Asbestos Awareness Website.