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Glossary of terms


(a) the fibrous form of the mineral silicates belonging to any one or a combination of the serpentine and amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals, including actinolite, amosite (brown asbestos), anthophyllite, crocidolite (blue asbestos), chrysotile (white asbestos) or tremolite, or
(b) any material or object, whether natural or manufactured, that contains one or more of the mineral silicates referred to in paragraph (a) above.

Asbestos hierarchy of control (W)
  • eliminate the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by removing the asbestos
  • if a risk remains, reduce the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by enclosing the asbestos
  • if a risk remains, further reduce the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by sealing the asbestos.

Note: This hierachy is specific to the requirements of Part 4.3, Division 5 of the OHS Regulations in regard to asbestos in workplaces. 

Asbestos Register

Where asbestos is present in a commercial premise, the person with management or control of that premise is required to have a competent person assess the locations where asbestos material is present. The details of the asbestos material must then be recorded in an asbestos register. The register is required to be accessible to a variety of persons. If you rent or lease a commercial premise which contains asbestos you are required to obtain a copy of the asbestos register from the property owner. You must then consider whether you have introduced any asbestos into that workplace, and if so include it in the register. You can find out more about asbestos registers here.

Asbestos Removal Work

The removal of asbestos that is fixed or installed in a building, structure, ship or plant so that the asbestos is no longer fixed or installed in that building, structure, ship or plant up to the point of containment.

Asbestos Waste

Asbestos removed and disposable items used during asbestos removal work or asbestos-related activities, including plastic sheeting and disposable personal protective clothing and disposable protective equipment including tools.

Asbestos-containing material (ACM)

Any manufactured material or object that, as part of its design, contains one or more of the mineral silicates referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition of asbestos (other than plant in which asbestos is fixed or installed).

Asbestos-related activities (W)

‘Division 8 – Activities involving asbestos’ of the Regulations sets out the duties on employers where asbestos-related activities (other than asbestos removal) are undertaken in their workplace. These activities include:
(a) the handling, including for the purpose of removal or transport for disposal, of aircraft and automotive components that are asbestos-containing material or that have ACM fixed to them or installed in them
(b) the laundering of clothing contaminated with asbestos
(c) research involving asbestos
(d) sampling or analysis involving suspected asbestos
(e) the transport of asbestos waste for disposal purposes
(f) working at a site licensed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria to accept asbestos waste
(g) the enclosing or sealing of asbestos
(h) hand-drilling and cutting of ACM
(i) maintenance of dust extraction equipment, contaminated with asbestos
(j) processing of construction and demolition material in accordance with the method determined by VWA
(k) any other activity (other than asbestos removal work to which Division 7 applies) that is likely to produce airborne asbestos fibres in excess of one half of the asbestos exposure standard
(l) any other activity determined by VWA for the purposes of this Division.

Class A asbestos removal licence

means a licence that permits the holder to remove asbestos of any kind as specified in the licence;

Class B asbestos removal licence

means a licence that allows the holder to remove non-friable asbestos-containing material as specified in the licence;

Clearance Certificate (W)

a written statement confirming that an area where asbestos removal has taken place has been cleared of any visible asbestos-containing material and, where required/applicable air monitoring indicates the airborne asbestos fibre level is less than 0.01 fibres/ml.


Consult with employees on matters that may directly affect their health, safety or welfare. Where the employees are represented by a health and safety representative (HSR), the HSR must also be involved in the consultation.

Domestic Premises

premises used solely for domestic purposes.

Demolition (W)

in relation to ‘Part 4.3 – Asbestos’ of the Regulations only, ‘demolition’ is the complete dismantling or the complete or partial destruction of a building, structure, ship or plant such that it cannot be used in that form again.

Designated work group (DWG)

A DWG is a negotiated and agreed grouping of employees who share similar workplace health and safety concerns and conditions. It may be made up of employees in one or more workplaces operated by a single employer or employees of multiple employers at one or more workplaces.

Employee (W)

means a person employed under a contract of employment or contract of training

Employer (W)

means a person who employs one or more other persons under contracts of employment or contracts of training;

Employer’s asbestos register (W)

Idenitifies asbestos-containing material in the employer's workplace.

Fixed or installed (W)

ACM is regarded as being fixed where it has been attached or secured in position (eg asbestos cement sheet screwed or nailed). ACM is considered installed where it has been specifically placed for a purpose (eg asbestos-containing refractory bricks placed on top of each other or loose asbestos-containing insulation blown into a ceiling space).

Friable asbestos

When dry:
(a) may be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure, or
(b) as a result of a work process becomes such that it may be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure.


The person who owns their own home and is going to undertake work on it to renovate or refurbish. If there is asbestos containing material in their home and they do all the work themselves they refer to “In the home”. If they bring builders or tradespersons into their home, then their home becomes a workplace for these people and they are required to meet what is advised in In the workplace.

Management or Control (W)

The person who has management or control of a workplace can be the person who:

  • owns the workplace but is not at or based at the workplace (it does not have to be that person’s actual place of work)
  • has legally been assigned management and control duties over the workplace (such as a management group that may or may not be located at the workplace, including commercial and industrial property agents)
  • owns the workplace and is working (or has employees working) at the workplace – in this case the person is both the person with management or control and an employer (if they have employees).

National Association of Testing Authorities – Australia’s national laboratory accreditation authority.

Plant (W)

(a) any machinery, equipment, appliance, implement and tool; and
(b) any component of any of those things; and
(c) anything fitted, connected or related to any of those things;

Refurbishment (W)

in relation to the asbestos part of the Regulations only, ‘refurbishment’ may involve the partial dismantling of a building, structure, ship or plant for the purpose of renovating or rebuilding.


A tradesperson who goes to a domestic premise where their work will disturb asbestos has specific responsibilities. The domestic premise becomes a workplace when you are in attendance and it becomes your duty to identify the presence of asbestos, and if present follow the other duties.


The tenant of a domestic residence has a rental agreement or lease arrangement on the premises. Any damage or concerns re the premises needs to be considered

Self-employed person (W)

means a person, other than an employer, who works for gain or reward otherwise than under a contract of employment or training

Workplace (W)

means a place, whether or not in a building or structure, where employees or self employed persons work.

(W) – this definition is from the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007, or the Managing Asbestos in Workplaces Compliance Code, and as such refer specifically to workplaces.