Posted on: 7 July 2017
If you run a manufacturing operation of some kind, you may rely on the purchase of products or components from a third party in order to achieve your goals. You will have a variety of different regulations and rules to adhere to as you retain your operational licence and these will be set out by various branches of the government.
Sometimes, you will need to import components or products from other countries and this is where compliance can get a little more tricky. As just one example, can you be sure that the items that you are sourcing from overseas are asbestos-free? What do you need to be thinking about?
Asbestos is, of course, a very heavily regulated product in Australia and many other countries around the world. However, in certain countries it's not regulated at all, and China is top of that list. Chinese exporters consider Australia to be one of their primary markets and it is frequently cost-effective for Australian companies to import from there.
A variety of different problems can arise in this type of situation. The free trade agreement between the two countries is supposed to cover importation of restricted substances, but standards in the country of origin are very hit and miss. This leads to asbestos containing products being labelled as "free" of contamination, when that is not necessarily the case.
The level of control at various Australian points of entry also leaves something to be desired. The border forces are typically stretched very thin and short of resources and are not able to inspect the majority of cargo that arrives from countries like China.
Furthermore, a lot of International trade these days is conducted online and when this is done, products will not necessarily be linked to any certificate of compliance.
With all of this risk, it's important for you to educate yourself (and all your staff) to the likelihood that asbestos may be coming into your operation from those far-flung countries. You need to initiate asbestos testing on a sample of products that you're bringing in and determine whether you should change your sources.
Get in touch with asbestos assessment experts to have a look at all of the products in your control currently, as you reconsider your overall position. While importation may appear to be the best choice from a cost perspective, perhaps safety and compliance should be top of the list?Share