Although unlicensed removal of asbestos is permitted, it is generally not recommended as it may be safer for a licensed asbestos removalist to perform the removal work
When can I remove asbestos?
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007, a self-employed person can conduct a limited amount of asbestos removal work without a licence if:
- the asbestos-containing material is non-friable; and
- the area of asbestos-containing material to be removed does not exceed 10 square metres in total; and
- the total time asbestos removal work is performed in any period of seven days does not exceed one hour (this period is the cumulative total time the asbestos removal work is carried out by all employees over a period of seven days).
Read examples of when a license is not required to perform asbestos removal work.
If you do decide to remove asbestos yourself, review the steps below before you start work.
1. Read the Compliance Code
Before you start work on removing asbestos you should read the Removing Asbestos in the Workplace Compliance Code, and ensure that you understand your obligations.
If you believe that you are unlikely to meet your obligations, then you should consider engaging a licensed asbestos removalist to complete the work.
You can use the Find a Licensed Asbestos Removalist tool to locate a removalist in your area.
2. Your obligations when removing asbestos
As a self-employed person performing asbestos removal, you must ensure that the removal work is performed in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres so far as is reasonably practicable.
When packaging asbestos waste for disposal, you first need to establish the specific packaging requirements of the disposal site you plan to use, otherwise it may not be accepted. Packaged asbestos waste must also comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007. For example, the exterior of the container must be decontaminated before being removed from the area where the removal work is performed and it must also be clearly marked to indicate that it holds asbestos.
Find out more about how to package different types of asbestos.
When the asbestos removal is finished, you must ensure that the asbestos waste is -
(a) disposed of as soon as is reasonably practicable; and
(b) disposed of in an appropriate manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres; and
(c) disposed of at a waste disposal site licensed by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).
Disposal must only be at a site licensed by EPA to accept waste asbestos. If you intend to dispose of waste asbestos (both industrial and domestically sourced) you should contact the disposal site operator to check whether the site is appropriately licensed to accept the waste.
Find your nearest disposal site that is licensed to handle asbestos.
The transport of asbestos waste for the purpose of disposal must be done in a way that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres, which means ensuring:
- asbestos waste is securely packaged in containers
- waste containers are secure during transport
- the method of unloading the waste is safe.
The Environment Protection Authority controls the transportation of asbestos waste of industrial origin. Owners of vehicles that transport industrial-sourced asbestos waste must hold a waste transport permit
Further details on the transportation of asbestos is also available.
Some of your other obligations as a self-employed person include:
- undertaking appropriate training (including retaining records of your training),
- laundering of clothing contaminated with asbestos
- decontamination facilities,
- decontamination of equipment
You should also ensure you wear appropriate and correctly fitted personal protective clothing and equipment that is suitable for the removal work being performed.
For further information about your obligations refer to the Compliance Code – Removing asbestos in the workplace.
There are two types of licenses for asbestos removal - Class A and Class B. Only Class A license-holders can remove friable asbestos.
Choosing the Class A or B licensed removalist that is needed.
Get a clearance certificate
If you commission the asbestos removal work, you must obtain a clearance certificate. The clearance certificate must be obtained from an independent person before the areas where the asbestos removal work was being performed can be re-occupied by persons. An independent person is someone who is independent from you and the licensed asbestos removalist.
A clearance certificate is a written statement confirming that the area has been cleaned satisfactorily and is safe to be re-occupied for normal use. A clearance certificate is required if the removal work involved any quantity of friable asbestos, or if it involved more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos.