Managing Asbestos Risk in Canterbury

Managing Asbestos Risk in Canterbury
November 12, 2014

As the Canterbury rebuild continues, asbestos has been identified as a major issue, prompting a local campaign and website to help people understand the risks associated with asbestos and how these are best managed.

www.asbestosaware.co.nz was developed by the Combined Health and Environment Risks Programme Control Group (CHER) which is made up of government and local body agencies working on the rebuild. It contains advice and information for homeowners and contractors on the risks associated with asbestos, how to safely manage it, and where to go for help.

With over 130,000 homes in the Canterbury region, and a large proportion of those undergoing repairs, it’s important that homeowners and small contractors understand the risks associated with asbestos and receive the best advice to manage those risks. Asbestos Aware is a comprehensive resource to not only help raise awareness of risks, but to also point anyone dealing with asbestos in the right direction to get help.

The Asbestos Aware website contains information to help familiarise homeowners with what asbestos looks like, how to test to confirm if it is present, and then how to safely manage it if it is confirmed in their home.

Houses built, altered or refurbished between 1940 and up to the 1990’s may contain asbestos. The only way to know for sure if it is present is to have it tested. It is estimated that over 70,000 dwellings in Christchurch have asbestos containing materials present.

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Homeowners should remember that just because asbestos is present in their home, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dangerous.  If it is left intact and undisturbed, it is not a significant health risk. However, if homeowners are commencing work and they suspect asbestos could be involved, then it is vital they take precautions to manage the risk, using only appropriately qualified contractors to do the work in a safe manner. This is important because remnants of disturbed asbestos can remain in the home long-term if removal is not managed correctly. This exposure can affect future owners who may be unaware of work that has been done.

The information contained on the site has previously been available on a range of individual websites but this is the first time all the data has been pulled together to sit on one comprehensive site.  Visit www.asbestosaware.co.nz for more information.

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