The 27th of November represents the anniversary of the passing of Bernie Banton AM. For many, his name is synonymous with the fight against mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases due to his passionate campaigning for justice and compensation for suffers.
Fighting For Justice
It was in 2001 that James Hardie Industries acknowledged their role in the rise of asbestos-related diseases in their workers, and set up a foundation to handle compensation with a one-off contribution of $293 million. As the number of afflicted employees grew, it became clear that this fund was grossly insufficient as it ran dry two years later. The company’s refusal to provide addition funds was met with fierce criticism from the governments, unions and the media, and a public campaign against James Hardie was initiated.
In 2004, New South Wales’ then premier, Bob Carr, established a judicial enquiry to investigate, including representatives from James Hardie, victim groups, trade unions and the fund. The overall objective was to assess how much money was needed to compensate the victims in full, and how best this could be achieved.
It was during this inquiry that Australia became familiar with Bernie Banton – a social justice campaigner and former James Hardie worker. Dying from lung disease, he was determined to represent those affected by the James Hardie compensation shortfall.
In February 2007, victory was achieved in the form of an Asbestos Injury Compensation Fund – expected to amount to $4.5 billion over the subsequent 40 years. Just 9 months later, and eleven years ago today, Bernie Banton AM passed away from peritoneal mesothelioma.
Continuing The Legacy
Bernie’s wish was to support asbestos disease sufferers and family members with their battle and The Bernie Banton Foundation was created to carry his legacy.
Run by Karen Banton and Rod Smith, the foundation continues to make a huge difference to many people’s lives, and will for years to come.
Greencap commenced a partnership with the foundation as the Australia and New Zealand Risk Management Supporter in 2017 and continues to run internal and external awareness and fundraising initiatives to support their mission.
People who have been recently diagnosed with an asbestos related disease or their loved ones can contact the Bernie Banton Foundation via their 24/7 Support Freecall Helpline on 1800 031 731 available Australia-wide.
This national campaign aims to build awareness on the dangers of asbestos and provide education around how to avoid exposure and practice safe management of this hazardous material on properties, and in workplaces, that are likely to contain asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACM).
Australia’s extensive history of asbestos use parallels with the current high incidence of asbestos- related diseases in the country. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that is directly caused by asbestos inhalation. This disease claims the lives of approximately two Australians every day. Asbestos has been banned from use in Australia since 31st December 2003, however the prevalence and impact of asbestos-related diseases continues to grow.
Factors contributing to asbestos exposure
1. Renovations/Maintenance Works
Works can disrupt asbestos, releasing dangerous fibres into the air 2. Knowledge Deficit
Lack of awareness of the risks, where asbestos is commonly located and who is responsible for ensuring that buildings are safe from asbestos risk. 3. Legislation
Inconsistent legislation across Australia and differing industry practice can contribute to mismanagement 4. Importation
Goods from other countries that classify their product as ‘asbestos free’ because they contain a low level of asbestos
Greencap understands the challenges that businesses face in order to mitigate the risks of asbestos exposure. This is what makes Asbestos Awareness Month highly relevant for many industries in Australia. There is evidently a need for ongoing education to businesses and the wider community on the problem itself, and how to avoid the dangers associated to it.
At Greencap, these efforts are mirrored every month of the year, however a special effort is given during November.
What does Greencap do to raise awareness and assist with the problem?
Greencap regularly provide useful and informative information to clients and interested parties via news articles, risk reviews and whitepapers available on the Greencap website.
Recent Publications have focussed on the comprehension of legislation around asbestos, highlighting the need to understand key changes and duties required for property/site owners and developers.
Muddy Boots Training Program
Greencap’s Muddy Boots Training program offers a range of asbestos courses that deliver key safety insights that range from Asbestos Awareness to Supervision and Removal.
The nationally-accredited 10675NAT Course in Asbestos Awareness, mandatory in the ACT, is a powerful control measure for businesses to equip their workforce with the knowledge to identify and approach the risk of asbestos in the workplace. Learn more
Greencap hosts informative breakfast seminars in various locations across Australia and New Zealand. Commonly, these seminars provide attendees with relevant information on how to manage properties and environments that are at risk of asbestos exposure. Legislative requirements are explained, as are the ramifications of failing to comply. Register
Partnership with the Bernie Banton Foundation (BBF)
The Bernie Banton Foundation provides support and advocacy to sufferers of asbestos related diseases and their loved ones. Greencap are proud to be the foundation’s Risk Management Partner in Australia and New Zealand joining them in the mission to bring greater awareness of asbestos and safe handling and assisting with fundraising for this not for profit organisation through various company activities and events.
Bernie Banton succumbed to peritoneal mesothelioma on 27 November 2007. Prior to this, he devoted his final life’s work toward the passionate campaign for justice and compensation for suffers of asbestos related diseases.
The 27th of November is recognised as Bernie Banton Day, and fittingly falls within Asbestos Awareness Month.
To learn more about the organisation, or support the ongoing work provided by BBF, visit the Bernie Banton Foundation website
For information or advice on asbestos and other hazardous materials in your workplace or facility:
The Report on the Inquiry into Biotoxin-related Illnesses in Australia was presented in the House of Representatives in October 2018 by The Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport.
Greencap made a submission to this inquiry expressing concern on the lack of a regulatory framework for the assessment and remediation of managing water damage and mould in buildings. The absence of an accepted standard can leave occupants in buildings at risk of various health conditions and create confusion within the industry on the appropriate measures to be undertaken in the management of water damage and mould.
Mould occurs naturally and has a common presence in buildings, particularly after water damage, often caused by natural events or poor maintenance of water systems. The effects of mould exposure on health, whilst not present in everyone exposed, can result in a variety of symptoms ranging from respiratory difficulties, allergic reactions to nasal congestion and skin irritation.
The report draws upon the link between water damaged buildings and a variety of impacts on health, collectively termed Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). The inquiry revealed that from a medical standpoint, the causal relationship between CIRS and biotoxins, a biological substance that can have a toxic effect in humans, is difficult to determine, given the current lack in clinical guidelines for diagnosis. It can often lead the sufferer to search for alternate explanations of their condition.
Two significant recommendations from this report are for the industry to strive for consistency on the way impacts are assessed and managed, and more support to medical professionals to assist with diagnosis, treatment and care.
The following recommendations were offered by the committee as a proactive measure to enhance clinical and building management practices in regard to the prevention of mould-related illnesses:
Department of Health to produce a fact sheet and conduct further investigations on the potential health effects, prevalence in buildings and advice on prevention of mould
Further research should be facilitated by the Australian Government to establish agreed standards and/or accreditation requirements for the mould testing and remediation industries
Improved disclosure and rectification of mould and water damage in properties for tenants in rental properties, aged care facilities, community, social and public housing
Further research into the adequacy of existing building codes and building standards with regard to the prevention of dampness and mould
The need for improvement to the regulations and standards with regard to managing water damage and mould-related issues was a consistent theme addressed by Greencap and other contributors. These concerns were supported by the inquiry in its second recommendation which include the consideration of:
the most effective methods of testing and remediation of buildings affected by mould and/or moisture
appropriate accreditation requirements for professionals working in these fields
options for greater regulatory oversight of these industries
Following the commencement of the Building and other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018 (Qld) on October 1, 2018, the Queensland Government established an Audit Taskforce to undertake targeted investigations of buildings using Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) cladding and other possibly combustible products in government and privately owned buildings.
The aim of the Regulation is to ensure:
Building owners have the necessary information to make informed decisions about fire safety risks;
Governments use evidence based-data to inform future policy decisions; and
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is assisted in operationalising resources to respond to identified high risk buildings.
What will the taskforce be focussing on?
Investigations of hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation buildings, high occupancy public and private buildings and high-rise buildings will be prioritised, with the following criteria being targeted:
Health care buildings, public buildings (places of assembly) and high-rise residential buildings greater than one storey or greater than 3,000m2 overall building size; and
Retail facilities and office buildings greater than two storeys or greater than 3,000m2 overall building size.
The Queensland Government has recommended that building owners may need to seek the services of an industry professional such as a fire engineer and in some cases, mitigation and remediation work may be necessary.
What do Building Owners need to do?
As part of this process, building owners must register their buildings and commence the process to identify whether ACP or non-conforming building products (NCBPs) are present in their buildings. Following registration, a staged, detailed, and regulated process of investigation is required. If the presence of ACP and NCBPs are confirmed in this investigation, owners are required to engage a Fire Engineer to assess the materials and submit a complying report to the government. This report must also be attached to the site’s Emergency Plans.
Which buildings are covered by the Regulation?
Class 2-9 buildings of Type A or Type B construction (for which building approval was given after 1 January 1994 and before 1 October 2018) are covered by the Regulation and will require registration and assessment to determine whether ACP or NCBPs are present.
My building is changing ownership – What is my obligation?
A change of building ownership attracts further statutory duties for building owners. If one or more of the relevant stages has been completed, an owner must give the new owner:
Notice (in the approved form) about the extent to which the original owner has complied with Part 4A; and
Copies of each document given by the original owner to the QBCC under Part 4A.
They must also give the QBCC a copy of the notice given to the new owner. Failure to do so may attract a maximum penalty of up to 20 penalty units (currently $2,611).
Building Owner Actions
How Greencap can assist?
Engage an agent and provide information for completing the checklist
Stage 1 Complete by 29 March 2019
Review and sign documentation
Register your building
Inspect the Building
Complete Stage 1 Checklist
Sign Statutory Declaration
Supply written report
Register your building
Inspect the Building
Complete Stage 1 Checklist
Sign Statutory Declaration
Supply copies to the Building Owner
Supply written report to the Building Owner
Stage 2 Complete by May 2019
Provide construction plans (where available)
Review and sign documentation
Conduct detailed and invasive inspection of cladding to identify ACP/NCBP/other combustible
cladding (in accordance with
Complete Stage 2 Checklist
Sign Statutory Declaration
Supply written report
Conduct detailed and invasive inspection of cladding to identify ACP/NCBP/other combustible cladding (in accordance with NCC/BCA C1.9)
Complete Stage 2 Checklist
Sign Statutory Declaration
Supply copies to the Building Owner
Supply written report to the Building Owner
Stage 3 Complete by 27 August 2019
Engage a Fire Engineer to develop a building Fire Safety Risk Assessment
Assist with development of Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment
Assist with development of Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment
Retain completed checklists and Fire and Emergency Plans
Assist in the development/update of Emergency Plans and Procedures
Assist in the development/update of Emergency Plans and Procedures (with TrimEVAC)
For assistance or additional information, contact:
At the 26th annual NSCA Foundation National Safety Awards of Excellence, Greencap were announced winners in the category ‘NSCA Foundation Member of the Year’. The criteria for nomination in this group was based on a business’ commitment and leadership toward enhancing safety in an Australian workplace.
Finalists in each of the 9 categories were shortlisted based on their demonstration of innovation and dedication to prioritising safety and leading WHS principles in their industry. Greencap are proud to embody and promote the continuing improvement of safety in business; this award stands as a testament to the responsibility and determination required to reach this level of achievement.
For the 5th consecutive year, Greencap sponsored the award for ‘Best Continuous Improvement of a WHS Management System’. Defence Housing Australia (DHA) were successful in gaining this title, Dean Comrie (Greencap- General Manager), proudly presented the trophy for this award to Chelsea Cook on behalf of DHA. The essential criteria to standing out in this category was to demonstrate improvement to a WHS/OHS management system as part of an ongoing process, to yield a positive effect on staff and business operation. DHA, motivated to become a leader within the industry, identified the need to modernise and improve the management of health and safety. Through setting goals, DHA has maintained certification against the International Standard, reducing Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR), and achieved top rating on its WHS management, an approach which has been shared across the public service and wider industry.
The NSCA foundation are Australia’s only national, independent body promoting excellence in workplace safety. The annual awards gather representatives of Australian business who are like-minded in their view that workplace health and safety remains at the heart of leading business performance.
For a full list of National Safety Awards category Finalists, Highly Commended and Winners, visit the NSCA website
Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is a concept that places legal obligations on parties in the transport supply chain. It was devised in the early 2000s to impart accountability, driver fatigue management, speed, overloading and load restraint issues. There were significant transport industry issues at the time for all parties associated with the transport supply chain. In 2005, the Chain of Responsibility legislation was developed as part of the National Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2003.
In 2014, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was introduced as a single set of laws for heavy vehicles on the principle that “anyone who has influence over the transport activity is responsible for safety on the road”. The legislation targets operators who may seek to gain unfair competitive advantage by breaking the law, and imposes a positive duty on all who have responsibility for the parts of the supply chain where actions, inaction or demands increase risk.
New Primary Duty laws in 2018
On 1 October 2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was amended to provide that every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities, whatever their role in the supply chain. In practical terms, this primary duty represents an obligation to eliminate or minimise potential harm or loss (risk) by doing all that is reasonably practicable to ensure safety, which is consistent with the requirement of the National WHS regulations.
The WHS legislation defines “reasonably practicable”
Subdivision 2: What is reasonably practicable
18 What is reasonably practicable in ensuring health and safety
In this Act, reasonably practicable, in relation to a duty to ensure health and safety, means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:
(a) the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring; and
(b) the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk; and
(c) what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about:
(d) the hazard or the risk; and
i. ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and
ii. the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and
(e) after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.
As a party in the supply chain, the best way to minimise risk insofar as is reasonably practicable is to have safety management systems and controls in place, such as sound business practices, training, procedures and review processes that:
Identify, assess, evaluate, and control risk
Manage compliance with speed, fatigue, mass, dimension, loading and vehicle standards (including maintenance) requirements through identified best practice
Involve regular reporting, including to executive officers
Document or record actions taken to manage safety
Common CoR breaches resulting in potential uncontrolled risk scenarios.
The aim of CoR is to ensure that everyone in the supply chain shares responsibility for ensuring that breaches of the HVNL do not occur and that it is not solely the responsibility of the person(s) who loads the vehicle. A party may be named and have multiple duties, for example, as the employer, operator and consignor of goods.
The CoR changes make this a ‘shared’ responsibility, between the consignor and the person tasked to load & secure the items.
For example, a consignor has certain responsibilities under the NVHL regulations as they are a party to the supply chain, particularly with influence over goods logistics.
Certain responsibilities include;
Common errors for either party, the driver and the consignor:
Applying business practices or demands that cause a driver to breach fatigue management requirements or speed limits
Failing to weigh, measure or secure loads, including poor weight distribution over the axles
Setting schedules with unrealistic time frames
Causing unreasonable delays in loading and unloading, impacting on driver hours/delivery times
Packing goods incorrectly
Entering terms in contracts and arrangements that encourage, reward or give incentives to the driver or other parties in the CoR to breach the law
The outcome of these errors can result in weight shifting leading to roll over, loss of load or loss of vehicle control.
Penalties for Breaches of National Heavy Vehicle Laws
Under the CoR, all parties with control or influence over a transport activity are responsible for complying with and for breaches of the NHVL. Significant penalties apply under the current CoR for breaches. These include but are not limited to fines, prosecution and loss of licence.
Fine amounts are updated annually and can be found on the NHVL website.
Fines for individuals currently have 4 levels:
Level 1 Minor Risk Breach e.g. Driving a heavy vehicle in breach of a vehicle standards condition.
Level 2 Substantial Risk Breach e.g. Driving a heavy vehicle in contravention of mass/dimension conditions
Level 3 Severe Risk Breach e.g. Tampering with equipment provided for safety reasons, such as speed limiter.
Level 4 Critical Risk Breach. e.g. Intentionally resting for less than the minimum time, to receive financial benefit
Corporate fines are five times the amount of individual fines.
Fines can be extended to an amount 3 times the commercial benefit received by committing the offence.
From 1 October 2018, new Primary Duty Penalties are in place across three categories with varying degrees of severity. Worse case for a Category 1 Recklessness breaches may include up to five years imprisonment, $300,000 for individuals and $3,000,000 for corporations.
Five Focus Areas of the amended CoR
There are five primary focus areas in the amended chain of responsibilities regulations. These are in the areas of:
Employers and customers will be held accountable for dangerous work schedules and long truck queues
Maximum work hours and minimum rest hours are defined by legislation
Schedules and rosters must be developed with this in mind
Drivers must be fit for work
Workplace conditions must not contribute to fatigue
Delays in loading, unloading and truck queuing that contribute to fatigue must be addressed
A load must not be placed in the way that makes the vehicle unstable or unsafe
The load must be secured so it is unlikely to fall or be dislodged from the vehicle
An appropriate method must be used to restrain the load
May prohibit travel between two places in less than a specified time
Speeds must be monitored and enforced. Examples of control include;
systems to ensure the terms of the consignment, contract and agreements will not cause or encourage the driver to exceed the speed limit;
Implementing and maintaining system to ensure demands are not made of the driver that may result in speed limit exceedance; and
Systems to ensure the driver’s schedule will not cause the drivers to exceed the speed limit.
Mass and dimension
Vehicles must not exceed the mass AND dimension limits specified in the Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation unless exempted. These apply to single and combination vehicles.
There are standards for construction, performance and size limits.
There are standards for oversized or over-mass vehicles and combinations that are exempted from normal limits by way of an issued permit or notice of exemption.
Vehicles must be well-maintained and roadworthy
Vehicles must be fitted with safety equipment
Unsafe vehicles must be removed from services
Unsafe vehicles must be repaired
Problems with vehicles must be reported to the owner by whoever notices them
Tampering with safety equipment must not occur
Drivers have an obligation NOT to drive an unsafe vehicle
What should I do?
Step 1 – Review your existing system’s compliance with the CoR laws
Determine if you are a party to the CoR. What role(s) do you hold in Supply Chain?
Consignee – orders and/or receives the goods
Consignor – dispatches goods for delivery
Scheduler – has influence or control over the delivery time
Packer – prepares the goods for movement
Loader – loads the goods onto a vehicle
Loading Manager – supervises the loading process
Driver – transports the load by road
Unloader – unloads the goods at the destination
Employer – person or company who employs someone else to drive a regulated heavy vehicle
Prime Contractor – engages some elseone to drive under a contractor for services (subcontractor)
Operator – controls or directs operations of a vehicle/fleet
Owner-sole or joint owner of a vehicle (e.g. Owner-driver)
What must these persons do?
Eliminate or minimise public risks
Not cause or encourage a driver of a heavy vehicle or another person to contravene the law
A person must not enter into contracts or arrangements that encourage, reward or give incentives to the driver or other parties in the supply chain to breach the law.
Note on Executives of Legal Entities:
Executives must exercise due diligence to ensure the safety of the legal entity’s transport activities. In this case, due diligence means gaining and maintaining knowledge about safe conduct of the entity’s transport activities. Executives must understand the hazards and risks associated with their transport activities and have appropriate resources to implement processes to eliminate or minimise those hazards and risks. They must respond to information received about hazards and risks in a timely manner and must verify that suitable resources and processes are provided, used and implemented.
Action: Use the NHVR gap analysis tool for CoR and also Governance, available as a free download from the NHVR website. Apply this to your business and your role(s) in the Supply Chain to determine any areas of non-compliance with the NHVL. An online form can be found at here.
Step 2 – Make adjustments to your system to correct any gaps you identify
The gap analysis tool will help you identify where your existing management systems may fall short of complying with the new CoR. Implementing improvement where controls are inadequate assists with making the roads a safer place for all users and minimises potential for organisation to receive penalties, prosecutions and sanctions.
Action: Determine the reasonable steps you need to take to control the risks identified in the gap analysis tool.
Use of loading diagrams
A driver communications process about late loading/unloading, so they can manage their work/rest times
Reference to the NTC mass and dimension guidelines
Audits and reviews
Providing accurate container weight information
Agreeing on realistic delivery timelines
Checking subcontractor systems for preventing CoR breaches.
The NHVR, as well as its gap analysis tool, offers support and assistance including checklists, templates and tools, Quick Guides and worked examples. These are particularly valuable for smaller businesses, owner-drivers and small fleet operators who have fewer resources and perhaps less experience with developing management systems. Larger businesses will still benefit from accessing the guidance material and familiarising themselves with what is required to comply with the new CoR.
Your business may need to make some changes and some of these may involve investing in improvements that mitigate risk. Developing a simple management system if you have nothing in place should be relatively easy and cheap with the tools provided by the NHVR. But there will often be investments in technology, hardware and measuring tools that are desirable and these may include (where required):
Scales on loading equipment
Safety equipment such as speed limiters
Driver rest facilities
Pedestrian segregation hardware
Engineered truck modifications
Load restraint hardware and equipment
Intelligent Speed Assist
Electronic In-Vehicle Monitoring Systems
Step 3 – Implement your changes and communicate them to all parties
It is important that you communicate the upcoming CoR changes to your employees and subcontractors. They should be informed about the scheduled amendment and what this will mean for them. Some businesses will also need to provide information to their customers about any changes they will be implementing that may impact a customer’s service expectations. Consignees must understand that they are also considered as part of the Supply Chain and have a positive duty to comply with the CoR, eliminate or minimise risk to the extent of their ability and not to cause a person to contravene the law.
Action: Brief your management team, employees and contractors, so all are aware of the changes you have made to your management system. Customers also need to be made aware, so include them in your communications.
Step 4 – Verification
Prepare and implement a management plan to verify and ensure controls and system effectiveness.
Exceptions to introduction of the CoR
While the National Heavy Vehicle Laws are intended to apply nationally, the NT and WA are not adopting the laws at this time. Road transport in the NT and WA will remain within existing State and Territory laws. In WA this is the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012 and in the NT this is the Work Health and Safety (Nationally Uniform Legislation) Act 2012. In WA, the State legislation applies to both heavy and light vehicle transport. Speed and fatigue in WA are addressed under WHS legislation.
If your business is located in the NT or WA and you travel to states covered under the new CoR legislation, you must be aware that some HVNL requirements WILL apply on trips to these States. From 1 October 2018, your drivers will need to commence a National Work Diary at the beginning of the trip and will be restricted to a 12 hour driving maximum.
WorkSafe Victoria has published the latest versions of the compliance codes ‘Managing Asbestos in Workplaces’ and ‘Removing Asbestos in Workplaces’.
Changes have been made to strengthen the durability of the flooring and tapes. These must be robust and durable, preventing damage for the duration of its use to counter some of the light weight woven plastic sheeting
The removal of asbestos backed sheet vinyl has been clarified as a Class A work
Where non-friable materials may become a part of the process, a Class A Licensed Asbestos removalist must be engaged
Decontamination areas or units now includes reference to privacy
Vacuum Cleaners Negative Pressure Units NPU need to be maintained in accordance with manufactures recommendations and AS/NZ 60335.2.69 that refers to annual testing such as using a Dispersed Oil Particulate (DOP) test
Respiratory Protective Equipment
The codes now recommend the use of a class P1 or P2 non-disposable half face respirator
Fit tests and fit checks have been clarified
Section 196 has included additional information explicitly required to be included in an asbestos management plan:
Any clearance certificates relating to previous asbestos removal work
Procedures for recording accidents, incidents or emergencies related to asbestos
Air monitoring procedures
The compliance codes are available for download from the WorkSafe Victoria Website:
Greencap Darwin now has a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited laboratory, formally acknowledging the capacity to deliver reliable technical results from testing conducted in the lab. Meeting this accreditation highlights Greencap’s ability to provide a comprehensive service in identifying and managing the presence of asbestos and other hazardous substances. The in-house, local testing supports the delivery of results more efficiently and offers clients the speed and responsiveness to keep projects on track.
For over 10 years, Greencap’s Northern Territory office (formerly AEC Environmental) has been providing risk management services with a team of specialised consultants in property, environmental and WHS risk.
The ability to deliver services to assist clients with meeting the legislative requirements around asbestos identification and management is an exciting expansion of the service offering. With a dedicated Property Risk and Hazardous materials team lead by the licensed asbestos assessor Darren Kenny (Senior Consultant – Property Risk/Laboratory Coordinator), Greencap are well-equipped to offer efficient and consistent solutions to clients.
It is critical that the identification, management and removal of hazardous substances are coordinated according to the appropriate reporting and regulatory methods. The newly-accredited laboratory will enable this, and compliment Greencap’s services including property risk management, contaminated land and environmental management.
The anticipated Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2018 passed through the Victorian Parliament on 22 August 2018, introducing a new approach to addressing environmental issues. This change evolves the long-standing method of ‘managing’ the impacts of waste and pollution after it has occurred into a ‘prevention-focused’ model of care.
Leading the revolution in environmental protection, the change modernises requirements for waste control, where higher accountability and greater consequences for failure to comply will be applied to businesses, industries and the community.
The obligation for businesses and industries to reform waste management practices implies the implementation of various regulations, policies, codes and guidelines in order to comply with legislation. The aim to increase the protection of people and the environment from harm aligns the approach more consistently with existing WorkSafe legislation.
The Act is intended to come into full effect in 2020, however some sections will commence earlier such as the immediate requirements under Section 19, which requires all actions taken to be evidence-based.
The legislation change is intended to enhance the protection of Victoria’s environment and public health, through a risk-based framework that includes:
General Environmental Duty
Intended to focus on preventing harm, Victorian businesses, industries and community members will be required to undertake reasonably practicable steps to eliminate, or if elimination is not reasonably practicable, reasonably practicable steps to minimise, risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste.
The legislation introduces a new three-tiered permissions framework (Registrations, Permits and Licences) allowing proportionate controls to be applied based on the nature of the risks.
Waste Management and Duties
The legislation introduces a new framework to reduce hazards from waste, while supporting waste material reuse, recovery and resource efficiency.
Greater empowerment for the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and persons in management or control of a site to take action proportionate to the risks posed by contaminated land. This will reduce costs to consumers, businesses and government establishing expectations of duty to manage and notify authorities of contaminated land.
A more flexible assessment process than the previous one-size-fits-all solution. This will consist of a preliminary risk screen (PRS) and a scaled audit.
The legislation includes ‘Better Environment Plans’ to enable EPA to recognise innovative approaches to environmental protection. EPA’s endorsement of plans will be an important recognition of and support to that positive action by the partners.
Access to Environmental Information
The legislation introduces requirements to make environmental information more transparent and accessible to the public.
Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance
Modernised and strengthened ability for the EPA’s compliance and enforcement powers.
Penalties and Sanctions
Increased penalties for environmental offences from those previously in place, bringing these penalties into line with comparable legislation in other environmental schemes.
For the first time in Victoria, community members affected by alleged breaches of the new environment protection laws will be able to seek direct action through a court. The Act includes a new ‘community right’, which will allow courts to enforce the new laws without EPA’s involvement.
Greencap recognises that keeping up to date with regulatory changes can be challenging. With a team of environmental experts, Greencap are able to provide tailored services for your business to assess and implement appropriate and cost effective solutions to meeting the requirements. We have extensive experience in liaising, preparing and delivering assessments for our clients required for Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approval. Greencap can also assist with briefing your Management or Board on the relevant requirements tailored for your industry.
Please contact Greencap if you have any questions about the commencement and implementation of the Act, or you would like a briefing for your Management or Board on the relevant requirements tailored for your industry.