The Canberra Times has reported that it is apprentices, rather than bosses who are on worksites identifying asbestos. Asbestos in construction is clearly a high risk work health and safety issue with many old buildings in Canberra with asbestos as part of their construction.
The ACT government is considering introducing legislation to the Legislative Assembly to make an asbestos identification training course mandatory for all construction workers.
The Canberra Times reports that the secretary of the ACT branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Dean Hall, said his organisation was prepared to subsidise union members to do the half-day detection and awareness course.
Mr Hall said asbestos training on a smaller scale had already proved remarkably successful and that asbestos training already provided to apprentices in the ACT had led to most of the discoveries of asbestos on worksites.
The Canberra times reports that in the next few months, it is expected the ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe will issue a guidance notice to employers. This guidance will tell employers that they should teach their workers how to identify the dangerous substance.
The executive director of the Construction Industry Training Council, Vince Ball, said thousands of ACT construction workers would already be accredited and would not have to do more training.