Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Counsel and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has been reinforced the regulation for the work involving hazardous material such as asbestos which may cause serious illness when being contacted. Therefore, there is only qualify and approved contractor is allowed to handle the disposal and removal work for the building material which is contained asbestos material.
The rules has been specify the detail requirement and removal criteria by approved contractor and disposed to the approved dumping ground. Any work involved removal and demolished or renovated the building which is contain asbestos building material are required to inform MOM seven day before starting the work. Proper method statement and risk assessment shall be enforced and implemented on site.
For the building built before 1990, especially for the old houses, old shop houses, the asbestos has been widely use for heat-insulation material, ceiling boards, partition etc. The import of raw asbestos was only banned in 1988 when there is scientific proof if was a hazardous and harmful for health. Asbestos exposure causes a wide range of serious and fatal health conditions including pleural changes (plaques, thickening, breathlessness, loss of lung function), asbestosis (scarring of the lungs), cor-pulmonale (right sided heart enlargement and then failure), lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the linings of the lung or abdomen), laryngeal cancer, gastro-intestinal cancers (including stomach, colon, recital), ovarian cancer, and is suspected of causing kidney cancers.
The building owner & contractors shall follow the handbook guide line by the NEA, good practices of handling and disposal methods shall be strictly adhere with for the activities involved asbestos material. It was now enforced in regulation by MOM and help the industry to adapt the new rules & guidelines to ensure workers and publics are protected.
The building owner is advised to get the building inspected to identify if there is any such hazardous material being used and shall get it replaced soonest to minimize the exposures and health threaten.