Background Information | NSW WorkCover Licensing Requirements for Asbestos Removal | Council's Role and Responsibilities | Dealing with Dumped Asbestos | Links to Useful Additional Information Regarding Asbestos
Asbestos is the generic term for a number of fibrous silicate minerals. Asbestos is a versatile product, which withstands heat, erosion and decay and has fire and water resistant properties. Asbestos fibres are hazardous when inhaled. They can be released into the air when asbestos products are incorrectly handled, removed or transported for disposal.
Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder, or can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.
Bonded asbestos is produced when asbestos fibres are bonded to another material, such as cement or resin binder. It cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.
NSW WorkCover has a major role in ensuring that removal of asbestos is carried out in accordance with legislative requirements and where necessary by registered contractors. WorkCover legislation, however, only applies to:
- a workplace, or
- where the type or quantity of asbestos being removed, repaired, or disturbed requires the work to be carried out by an asbestos licensed contractor (see licensing requirements below)
A work place includes a residential property if any person is being employed there, but not if the works are carried out solely by an owner builder who does not employ anyone.
NSW WorkCover Licensing Requirements for Asbestos Removal
The licensing requirements for removal of asbestos are shown on the New South Wales WorkCover website. WorkCover also ensures that specialist contractors are correctly licensed.
The current requirements advised by WorkCover for Asbestos Licensing are:
- Bonded Asbestos Licence - a bonded asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos material such as fibro, corrugated cement sheeting and asbestos cement pipes
- Friable Asbestos Licence - a friable asbestos licence is required to remove, repair or disturb any amount of friable asbestos, such as sprayed limpet, asbestos cloth, millboard and pipe lagging. It also allows the removal of bonded asbestos
Council's role and responsibilities are where NSW WorkCover does not have jurisdiction over works being carried out. Council has a role to protect personal and public safety. This includes but is not restricted to:
- private residential properties when it is not a workplace
- customer requests concerning the condition of asbestos products used at residential premises
NSW WorkCover have also produced a Fact Sheet advising "Where Asbestos may be found in a typical home".
Dealing with Dumped Asbestos
If you would like to report an incident relating to asbestos please call Council's Customer Service section on 02 9562 1666.
Links to Useful Additional Information Regarding Asbestos
The following links provide useful information on legal requirements and good practices to minimise the risks associated with asbestos products.
NSW Government: Fibro and Asbestos - A Renovator and Homeowner's Guide (website)
Fibro and Asbestos - A Renovator and Homeowner's Guide (PDF file)
NSW WorkCover - Asbestos
Working With Asbestos: Guide
Department of Environment and Climate Change
Asbestos Awareness Week (26-30 November 2012)