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Asbestos management

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Building materials containing asbestos were used extensively throughout Queensland between the 1940s and the 1980s. These materials were used in floors, walls, roofs and many other building applications for houses, schools and other types of buildings both government and non-government.

The department's highest priority is the safety of students and staff at all times.

Asbestos-containing material (ACM) that is in sound condition does not pose a health risk unless disturbed. For more information about asbestos, see the vodcasts available from Dr Keith Adam, the department's Chief Health Advisor on asbestos.

Asbestos will continue to be managed in accordance with the Queensland Government Asbestos Management Policy for its Assets which incorporates a number of control measures to manage in-situ asbestos-containing material. See the Asbestos management — policy, plan and guidelines.

The condition of materials containing asbestos in department-owned facilities is managed through an extensive awareness program as well as annual maintenance condition assessments managed by Building and Asset Services (BAS) and 3-yearly specific asbestos audits.

Any ACM classified as being in poor condition through these inspections is made safe and programmed for remedial action as required.

The Gaskin Report

In February 2010, the department engaged Mr John Gaskin, one of Queensland's leading construction and development experts to undertake an audit of the department's policies and procedures for the management and control of ACM.

The Gaskin Report included an investigation into the processes around managing and removing asbestos from schools to verify that the department was meeting or exceeding the legislative requirements around asbestos management, and to recommend enhancements to the department's systems to ensure best practice.

The report was initiated to ensure that the safest possible measures are put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of students, staff, volunteers and visitors and service providers.

John Gaskin's report and recommendations were released and published online in June 2010. As a result of the report, all recommendations by John Gaskin were considered and incorporated into the Policy for the management of asbestos containing material in department-owned facilities, the Asbestos Management Plan in DoE Facilities (DOC, 20.6MB) and a proposed training strategy.

While Gaskin's 2010 audit report and recommendations provided the department with the basis for the initial policy and procedures for asbestos management, legislation updates have occurred and resulted in further reviews.

From 1 January 2012, the new Work, Health and Safety Act, Regulations and Codes of Practice relating to asbestos management came into force and consequently the department's policy and procedures were reviewed to align with the new legislation.

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Last updated 12 July 2019