Asbestos has been in news a lot in recent decades.
But what happens when you import products from countries where tolerance for the potentially harmful material may be less strict that Australia’s?
If your company uses imported products, you could be liable for the materials that they contain so it’s essential that you’re fully covered for every eventuality.
Asbestos: What Is It?
You’ve probably heard the name, but do you actually know what it is? A naturally occurring fibrous material, asbestos was incredibly popular throughout the 1950s and beyond, primarily as a building material. It was ideal as an insulator and had excellent fire protection properties as well as being strong, and resistant to chemical erosion.
A naturally occurring fibrous material, asbestos was incredibly popular throughout the 1950s and beyond, primarily as a building material.
It was ideal as an insulator and had excellent fire protection properties as well as being strong, and resistant to chemical erosion.
Unfortunately, when a material containing asbestos is disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air, which are seriously harmful. They can aggravate lung tissue, causing it to scar and asbestosis is now classed as a serious, chronic respiratory disease.
You need to make sure that you are always fully insured if you or any of your workers come into contact with asbestos.
In The News: Asbestos In Australia
Australia has a zero tolerance policy to asbestos.
With globalisation of the construction industry it’s increasingly common for companies and contractors to use products from countries such as China whose imports can often contain small amounts of asbestos.
Recently, traces of asbestos were found in the roof panels at the $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital. Not only harmful to the potential patients this also exposed the scores of construction workers to contamination that could provoke serious respiratory issues.
5-10% chrysotile was found in samples tested from the imported roof panels, with products containing more than 0.1% classified as hazardous.
The Chinese company that manufactures and supplies the panels has sent products around the world and throughout Australia resulting in many of their customers becoming extremely concerned.
So, Are You and Your Business Activities Covered by Insurance?
If you import products, you need to make sure you have asbestos insurance cover as soon as possible.
With the potential health hazards of this material, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Whether you deal directly or indirectly with asbestos or asbestos products, it’s essential that all builders, plumbers, roofers, electricians and construction companies must check their domestic and international suppliers.
They should check both their approach to asbestos and request accurate and definite information about whether any of their products contain any level of the material.
Isn’t Asbestos Liability Covered In A Normal Business Insurance Policy?
NO IT IS NOT.
The majority of business insurance policies exclude asbestos.
You may have the most comprehensive public liability insurance policy on the market, but the chances are you won’t be covered for claims involving asbestos.
Similarly, Professional Indemnity policies rarely cover asbestos claims.
What Does Asbestos Liability Insurance Cover?
Asbestos Liability Insurance would help to cover the costs if your business was found liable of:
- Injury to a third party
- Asbestos Handling
- Asbestos Removal
This type of policy can also be extended to include statutory liability which would provide protection for any fines and penalties incurred due to the status of asbestos as an Occupational Health and Safety Hazard.
If you’re involved in importing or working with products that could have the potential to contain any trace of asbestos, you need Asbestos Liability Insurance.
It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind, and could save you time, money and stress long term.