Asbestos guide a first for NZ: Worksafe

The new code is applicable to a greater range of people who were exposed to asbestos. Photo / 123RF
The new code is applicable to a greater range of people who were exposed to asbestos. Photo / 123RF

A guide described as the first of its kind in New Zealand has been released in a bid to help halve asbestos-related deaths by 2040.

Worksafe says it received the most responses for any guidance consultation in its history when compiling the Approved Code of Practice for the Management and Removal of Asbestos.

Chief executive Gordon MacDonald says the code was developed with unions, employer organisations and other parties.

"By working together with industry, we were able to establish a common view of what 'good' looks like," he said.

"This lessens the need for businesses to obtain independent advice, which may reduce compliance costs."

Asbestos is the single biggest cause of deaths from work-related disease in New Zealand, claiming 170 lives each year on average.

MacDonald said previous asbestos guidance focused only on asbestos removal.

He said the new code was applicable to a greater range of people who were exposed to asbestos.

ASBETOS NOTES

• Importing of blue and asbestos in its raw form became illegal in 1984;

• On October 1, 2016, it became illegal to import asbestos-containing products;

• Buildings constructed, altered or refurbished from 1940 until the mid-1980s are likely to contain asbestos.

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