Asbestos | Main Region

Asbestos: health risks & safety advice

Asbestos Health and Safety

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used extensively in the Australian building industry and although the manufacture of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) was banned in 1983, they were still used in construction industry until 2003. For this reason, you may come across ACM’s in your workplace. 

Health effects

Asbestos fibres can be inhaled and carried into the lower parts of the lungs with potentially fatal consequences.

Asbestos inhalation can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, the first symptoms of which are commonly persistent coughing and increasing difficulty breathing.

Types of Exposure at Hays

You may be exposed to asbestos or an ACM in 1 of 2 main ways:

1. Formal Asbestos Removal Work

You may be placed into a temporary assignment that involves the removal of asbestos. This is not common, and Hays and the client take several actions to ensure the risk of exposure to any ACM is eliminated or reduced in the workplace. Any asbestos removal work will involve the use of specific PPE, atmospheric testing and safe working procedures that avoid the creation of dust when ACM is removed. 

2. Exposure to ACM in your workplace

Where there is a reasonable belief that ACM may be in the workplace an employer must maintain an asbestos register and develop a plan to manage the risk of exposure until materials are confirmed not to contain ACM’s or else be safely encapsulated. To avoid exposure to ACM you can ask to see the asbestos register in your workplace. Examples of ACM’s include: flat or corrugated sheets used for roofing and walls, cladding for fire protection, internal partition walls, adhesives, vinyl floor tiles, fire doors, pipes and lagging.


If ACM removal work is not part of your assignment and a client asks you to participate in ACM removal do not start work and contact Hays immediately. Without first contacting your Hays consultant or if you think there is ACM in the workplace and no asbestos register is available. No job is so important that you should risk your health and it is far more effective to address a hazard before an injury occurs.

How to report a Health & Safety Issue or concern  

Do not think because you may be new on site that you should not report a hazard.
To report any health & safety concern or hazard please contact the Hays Health and Safety team by calling:

Freecall Australia1800 786 057
Freecall New Zealand0800 562 669 (select option 4)

Alternatively, if you prefer you can also report this by speaking to your Hays consultant. Hays will always work to ensure that your safety comes first and so and will take the necessary steps required to safeguard this. All calls are confidential, your identity will not be divulged without your specific prior consent.

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