WorkSafe is providing information to home owners and tenants about the dangers of asbestos-containing materials when cleaning up after a flood.
After a flood, home owners and tenants will want to start cleaning up their properties as quickly as possible. It is recommended that you do not start cleaning up your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services, utilities companies or local Council. Before starting to clean up your property after a flood, consider the following hazards:
• Electrical hazards, such as fallen live power lines or active solar panels.
• Unstable buildings and structures. These may not be safe to enter or walk over.
• Disrupted sewerage services which can cause health risks.
• Building rubble containing hazardous materials, such as ACM.
For more information about safely cleaning up after a flood, go to betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are very common in buildings and structures built before 1990. They are commonly found in:
• splash backs
• vinyl floor coverings
Most ACM found within homes are non-friable (intact or bonded securely), such as cement sheet. When non-friable ACM is in good condition and not disturbed, it normally does not release asbestos fibres into the air. Friable ACM, such as asbestos backing of some vinyl floor coverings, can be broken up easily, releasing fibres that can be breathed in. Asbestos becomes a potential risk to health if fibres in the air are breathed into the lungs.
For more information about where asbestos can be found in the home go to asbestos.vic.gov.au
During floods building materials, including ACM, can be damaged and become dislodged. The material can be picked up by flood waters and moved from property to property. After a flood, debris including ACM may be found in homes or in community spaces such as parks and ovals. As wet ACM dries it can release airborne asbestos fibres, which can be breathed in.
WorkSafe Advisory Service
WorkSafe’s advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.
Call 1300 136 089
Download asbestos fact sheet: WorkSafe_Asbestos-in-flood-damaged-homes-and-buildings.pdf(PDF, 1MB)