Health & Safety News

Property buyers, construction workers: New technology that warns you if a property has asbestos

Building

We love technology! Let’s all do a collective cheer in agreement.

Actually, to say we all LOVE technology is a stretch. Sitting next to Glenn, Donesafe’s VP of Sales, he was cursing a piece of video editing technology that wasn’t doing what he wanted. “Don’t use it” I said. Unsurprisingly, he responded by saying no, he needs it to achieve the task he set out to achieve.

So RELY is the right term. We RELY on technology to a point we probably couldn’t function without it.

Image going to work, and not having your computer, phone, tablet, etc? What would you actually do? Picture yourself at your desk right now, with no computer. WHAT WOULD YOU DO!?

Technology is here, and it’s here to stay.

Continuing with the awareness of #AsbestosAwarenessMonth this November, we have read an article with some very exciting information on asbestos and technology. Another piece of technology that we soon will come to rely on.

No, it’s not an awesome app that recognises when you are hungover and immediately sends you your favourite greasy brekkie whilst your in bed. But it is an app that will save lives. This one piece of software could save hundreds of people from getting the deadly lung diseases from loose-fill asbestos. It’s a life-saver – literally.

Loose-fill asbestos is most commonly found in houses that were built before the 1980’s. There were up to 3,500 building products where asbestos could be found but the risks are reducing over the years. New Zealand had a building materials factory in Christchurch called Dunrock Industries which operated until 1974. Another James Hardie facility in Auckland continued until 1987 although asbestos had been phased out of sheet products by 1983. As well as being used for insulation and acoustic properties, asbestos was also sometimes used in wine to clarify the finish, while blue asbestos was a filtering component in gas masks.

Tom Davies and Reuben Williams saw a problem that could be fixed with technology. This idea pulled the risks of asbestos, the need for putting health first, and technology – it’s definitely a game-changer. Two guys from New Zealand set up a computer warning system to identify the risks of asbestos. It has been named the Building Materials Information System (BMIS) which sets up a management programme and keeps it up to date. The software will allow property buyers the ability to check for asbestos prior to buying or before renovating. The software will also allow tradesmen such as those working in the plumbing, electrical, construction space to use any handheld device to scan a barcode placed on a building for asbestos risks, this provides a diagram to indicate where hazards are and a property manager they can contact. This will fill the gap for managing the risks of asbestos, prior to this the only available software functionalities would merely cover an online asbestos register.

When starting a new project, the risks of asbestos are unknown until the building has been assessed. This will now speed up the initial start-up of any job when it comes to those working in this industry. You will know whether those smaller spaces within a project contain asbestos prior to starting a project, no more lying around in a confined spaces and noticing something that could be asbestos.

The system produces a “live” document where updates are made available immediately to all workers onsite, and it’s simple to use. The BMIS software also provides information about how asbestos risks are being managed, support information on the removal of asbestos, asbestos awareness training and health monitoring. Once an asbestos survey has been completed, any subsequent information can be entered and the software takes care of the rest.

In 2016 regulations prohibited importation of any asbestos materials into New Zealand. New rules come into force in April 2018 and failure to prepare an asbestos management plan or keeping it up to date could result in a fine of $50,000 for a company and $10,000 for an individual. New Zealand is behind Australia and the United Kingdom in the way they deal with asbestos. New regulations showcase a step in the right direction. Worksafe New Zealand estimates approximately 170 work-related deaths per year are attributed to asbestos.

Here’s how health, asbestos and technology were combined to change the lives of those in this industry.

And as always, keep safe out there.

By Donesafe at Donesafe.com

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