Canberra’s Mr Fluffy homes will be required by law to have high visibility tags in their meter boxes to protect the health and safety of tradespeople who may come into contact with loose amosite asbestos still present in homes.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will on Tuesday announce the rollout of the tags in meter boxes for the more than 1000 Mr Fluffy homeowners as they await the review of the Asbestos Response Taskforce. The taskforce is anticipated to recommend all Fluffy homes are ultimately demolished.
Mandatory tags, meantime, will be provided to homeowners as a temporary safety measure for tradespeople.
Their placement in metre boxes will be enforced by ACT WorkSafe which will have the power to fine homeowners without tags up to $3,300 if they refuse to adopt the measure.
Made from an industrial strength self-adhesive vinyl, the tags will be required to be affixed to meter boxes with distribution starting in September.
They must be in place by January 1, 2015, after which time it will be an offence not to have one.
Tags will be free of charge and homeowners will have the option to affix tags themselves, or have them placed by WorkSafe.
Ms Gallagher said “It is important that the government focus not only on those living in affected Mr Fluffy houses, but also apply strategies to protect tradespeople and other workers who may come into contact with affected homes.”
“This legal requirement to display a tag in the meter box is the latest step to deal with the Mr Fluffy situation and balances the need to ensure tradespeople and workers are aware a home is affected by loose-fill asbestos insulation against the personal interests of homeowners and occupiers who have requested their privacy be respected.”
Ms Gallagher noted that all ACT builders and tradespeople must be trained in asbestos risk – the Government recently mandating that asbestos awareness training for all affected workers must be completed by September 30.
Tradespeople were also urged to discuss the circumstance of homes they may be working on with homeowners, ask for copies of any asbestos assessment reports for the property and engage appropriately licensed asbestos experts to assist with the work to be undertaken.
“It is also important to note that the law does not absolve a homeowner’s responsibility to inform tradespeople that their home is affected by Mr Fluffy insulation, or to provide a copy of any asbestos assessment report,” Ms Gallagher said.
Tags will be available for affected homeowners free of charge from licensed asbestos assessors, WorkSafe ACT and the Asbestos Response Taskforce in coming weeks.