Is asbestos currently posing a threat to your business? If you’re like most Australian companies, you’ll say “no”. After all, you don’t use asbestos-contaminated products these days – nobody does, and they don’t even make them anymore, right? Well if you import any goods into the country, you’re at risk. Here’s what the law says and how you can decrease your risk of nasty fines, confiscated stock and even jail time.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?
According to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations Act of 1956, importing asbestos is prohibited. No use of any type of asbestos is permitted, even in small amounts. If you are found to be importing products that are contaminated by asbestos, your goods will be seized by the Australian Border Force and quarantined for an indefinite period. You might also need to pay a hefty fine of up to $210 000 or three times the financial value of what you have imported (the highest figure of the two will be the one you have to pay).
This could cripple your business, and with public awareness of the dangers of asbestos at an all-time high, the bad publicity could destroy all your goodwill with the public.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Making a habit of checking all imported goods will help to prevent you from liability, not to mention danger from exposure to asbestos. Your first option is to request an up-to-date certificate from your supplier testifying that your product has no asbestos content.
You can also request that they provide you with proof that they have taken safety measures during the supply chain process that has brought the product to you, as well as invoices from their suppliers, or documentation attesting to existing health and safety measures.
Ultimately, the best proof will come from pre-emptive testing in an Australian Laboratory accredited with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). This test will need to detail how, when and where the sample was taken, how it was tested, what it looked like and the results of the test.
If you request any of the above proof and your supplier can’t provide it for you, alarm bells should be ringing in your head. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so find a supplier that’s willing to put your mind at ease. When in doubt, an Asbestos Removal Sydney or Asbestos Removal Brisbane expert is the safest way to ensure you’re not putting anyone in harms way.