Many building and construction companies try to save cash by scouting for bulk materials online, but as a builder, you should be wary of importing products from other countries. You might even have requested importer certification from your supplier that indicates that the products are asbestos, but despite this, you’re still at risk. Here’s why local building and construction companies need to take care when importing materials.
The federal government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency has been exposing an increasing number of productscontaminated with asbestos, such as gaskets and roof panels, being shipped to Australia. Many importers forge paperwork to bypass customs, while others lie by omission. In China, white asbestos (or chrysotile) is not considered to be asbestos, and therefore many companies market these products as free of the harmful substance,and sell it to local businesses who remain completely unaware.
If you’re currently an importer of building materials and operate your business on a large scale, it’s advised that you test every shipment you receive, or switch to using a local supplier who operates in adherence to our country’s ban on the mineral. It’s important to understand that while local border forces target imports to check them, the sheer volume of imports occurring means that not all shipments can go through a formal inspection. If it’s found that your shipment contains asbestos, you might be able to get your supplier to carry the removal cost, but this isn’t guaranteed.
Smaller-scaletradies and workers also need to be careful, even if they don’t import products and operate on a small scale. Many homeowners are guilty of purchasing materials online to save costs, and then seeking out tradespeople to install them. It’s advised that you source any materials your client needs on their behalf, and that you choose local suppliers.
If you suspect that you might be dealing with asbestos in a shipment, or on a construction site, it’s always better to be safe, rather than sorry. Contacting a company to test the area is quick and affordable, and could save your business’s reputation, as well as the health of your employees.