Asbestos

Unlicensed removal

Although unlicensed removal of asbestos is permitted in certain circumstances, 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 2017, an employer or self-employed person can conduct a limited amount of asbestos removal work without a licence involving:

  • the removal of non-friable asbestos-containing material if:

    • 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).

  • the removal of asbestos-contaminated dust if:

    • the asbestos removal work does not exceed 10 minutes 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 licence 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 workplaces 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 an employer or self-employed person performing limited asbestos removal, you must ensure that the removal work is performed in a manner that eliminates the exposure of persons at the workplace to airborne asbestos fibres, so far as is reasonably practicable. If exposure cannot be eliminated, you must reduce the exposure so far as is reasonably practicable.

Packaging

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 2017. 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.

Disposal

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 the EPA to accept waste asbestos. If you intend to dispose of asbestos waste (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.

Transport

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 EPA controls the transportation of asbestos waste of industrial or commercial 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.

Additional obligations

Additional obligations may apply in relation to training, personal protective equipment, laundering of clothing contaminated with asbestos, decontamination facilities, decontamination of equipment and signage.

For further information about your obligations refer to the Removing asbestos in the workplaces compliance code.

Reviewed 08 November 2019

Unlicensed removal

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