Asbestos and Papua New Guinea

Asbestos and Papua New Guinea


Asbestos is a mineral fibre used in a wide variety of building materials. It is a proven hazardous material that kills thousands of people each year. This article aims to provide an insight into Asbestos in Papua New Guinea.



So is asbestos still legal in PNG?


Pro Safety and Training conducted some research as to whether asbestos is legal in PNG, but no information could be identified to clarify this. Pros Safety did however come across, an American website that lists countries where asbestos has been banned – Papua New Guinea however was not included in the list. Over several trips to PNG, Pro Safety and Training noticed the following use of asbestos - in corrugated roofing, wall sheets, pipes and pits, louvers and soffit sheets.



What Safety legislation does PNG fall under?


PNG ultimately falls under the Industrial Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1961. The Act is underpinned by  regulations i.e.  the Industrial Safety, Health and Welfare Regulation 1965. This also ties into the Industrial Safety (Building Works) Order 1967. To access PNG Legislation please use the following link here.



What does the Act say in regards to asbestos?


In the Industrial Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1961 there is no specific mention of the term “Asbestos” however it does specify the following:



Where, in connection with any process carried on in any premises of employment, dust, fluff, fumes or other impurities are generated or given off, of such a character or to such an extent that the inhalation of them would be likely to be injurious or offensive to persons employed in the premises–

(a)          effective measures shall be taken by the occupier–

(i)            to prevent the accumulation in a work-room of any such dust, fluff, fumes or impurities; and

(ii)           to protect such persons from the inhalation of the dust, fluff, fumes or impurities,

whether or not a notice has been served under Section 38; and

(b)          where the nature of the process makes it practicable, exhaust appliances shall be provided and maintained as near as possible to the point of origin of the dust, fluff, fumes or impurities, so as to prevent them from entering the air of a work-room.



What else does legislation say?


In the Industrial Safety (Building Works) Order 1967 section 53 and 54 cover work on 'brittle' asbestos roofing, however this does not address the hazard of asbestos dust- rather the risk of falling through the asbestos roofing and the risk of work at heights.



So what does section 39 of the Act mean exactly?


Basically,  section 39 means that if a worker is exposed to a dust in a workplace the person needs to be protected from this dust. For guidance on how this cane be achieved, we can basically use the Hierarchy of Controls to reduce the risk to workers as far as is reasonably practicable.


That is:


Elimination- This is not applicable for workers refurbishing or demolishing buildings containing asbestos containing materials.  Into the future,  it is possible to ban the use of  asbestos in Papua New Guinea, and therefore eliminate the threat of exposure from new asbestos products being used.


Substitution- We can substitute asbestos based products in new buildings with non-asbestos products and building materials. This is possible now, but will not reduce potential exposure during removal of asbestos containing materials.


Isolation- This could be an enclosure to prevent other workers being affected during removal of asbestos containing materials.


Engineering- an example would be to use 'negative' air units to remove asbestos dust from the work area or from inside an enclosure, during removal.


Administration- This includes training and applying safe work practices when working with Asbestos. Given the nature of asbestos removal, and the limited options to use any of the above mentioned methods, administrative controls are relied on heavily. When working with asbestos safe work practices are critical for reducing dust- this could include removing bonded sheets as full sheets and spraying down ACM with a PVA (wood glue) /water mixture during removal to bind any dust to the items being removed.


PPE - Given the threat of respirable asbestos dust fibres, a critical control measure for asbestos removal includes the use of suitable respirators, coveralls, gloves and gumboots.


The above only mentions a few controls. Further advice can be sought from  a publication widely used in Australia -  How to safely remove asbestos Code of Practice 2011.



How can Pro Safety and Training help?


Pro Safety and Training are able to provide safety training in asbestos removal, height safety and confined space safety, we also can provide high quality safety consulting across Papua New Guinea. We have completed multiple training projects in Papua New Guinea and use only experienced trainers that are considered industry experts. For further information on how we can help keep your workers safe contact us on 1300 336 003 or email us at [email protected]





Stowe Australia

Stowe Australia

Remove Non-Friable Asbestos Training

TestimonialCourse was a good refresher and brought me up to date with relevant info conducted by a good instructor.

- Gary E - Brisbane

Doval Constructions (QLD) Ltd

Doval Constructions (QLD) Ltd

Remove Non-Friable Asbestos Training

TestimonialGood course. Seb has extremely good knowledge of subject matter, regulatory requirements and practical application. Takes time to ensure you understand material. Highly recommend.

- Andrew S - Brisbane



Confined Space Entry Training

TestimonialGood course content. Excellent practical facilities.

- Chris G - Brisbane

Newcrest Mining Limited

Newcrest Mining Limited

Certificate IV Work Health and Safety Training

TestimonialTraining was well presented and the trainer was conversant with the topic.

- Felix G - Brisbane

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton

Remove Non-Friable Asbestos Training

TestimonialGreat course. Sebastian was easy to learn from and kept it relevant. Will happily do training through Pro Safety Training next time.

- Brendan M - Brisbane

Ventia Utility Services P/L

Ventia Utility Services P/L

Remove Non-Friable Asbestos Training

TestimonialA very well organised course to conduct the course on a remote site. Worthwhile skills delivered to all participants with customised discussion for the specific circumstances of the site.

- Scott M - Brisbane

Pro Safety and Training: Asbestos Removal, Height Safety, Confined Space Training & much more! Brisbane and Sydney