Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals the most common of which are:
- Chrysotile (white asbestos)
- Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
- Amosite (brown asbestos)
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that poses a risk to health by inhalation if asbestos fibres become airborne. As a result a national ban on the use or re-use of asbestos containing materials has been in force since 2003.
Asbestos-containing materials were used extensively in Australian buildings and structures, plant and equipment and in ships, trains and motor vehicles during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Some uses, including some friction materials and gaskets, were only discontinued on 31 December 2003.
As a result there is a need to identify and manage asbestos risks in almost all but the newest of buildings and with the importance placed on national and state WHS/OHS legislation compliance an independent, professionally qualified and trained consultant who bases their control recommendations on appropriate identification and evaluation methods is essential.