Asbestos Awareness Week – Asbestos Removal

This asbestos awareness week, EDP Consultants would like to remind you about the requirements and importance of undertaking any asbestos removal appropriately and in line with current WHS legislative requirements.

What Are the requirements for safe asbestos removal?

The requirements for asbestos removal are based upon whether the asbestos-containing materials (ACM) has been classed as:

  1. Non-friable asbestos

Non-friable asbestos is defined as material containing asbestos that is not friable asbestos where the asbestos is bound tightly within the matrix of the material.  This includes materials such as fibre-cement, vinyl tiles and bituminous products.   

  1. Friable asbestos

Friable asbestos is defined as material that is in a powder form or that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry, and contains asbestos.  Friable asbestos includes materials such as lagging, loose fill insulation, rope and textiles, and low density board.

Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractor

Current WHS legislation requires a licensed asbestos removal contractor to be engaged to undertake the removal of ACM. There are two classes of licenses:

  • Class A: for friable and non-friable asbestos removal.
  • Class B: for non-friable asbestos removal only.

Responsibilities for the licensed asbestos removal contractor include the requirement to:

  • Submit a 5 day asbestos removal notification to the state, territory or commonwealth regulator if material is in excess of 10 mfor non-friable ACM and any amount of friable ACM;
  • Develop an asbestos removal control plan (ARCP) in accordance with Appendix B of the How to Safely Remove Asbestos, Code of Practice;
  • Develop a site specific Safe Work Methods Statement (SWMS);
  • For friable asbestos removal:
    • Set up an airtight asbestos removal enclosure with:
      • Negative pressure units.
      • Minimum three stage wet decontamination unit.
      • Asbestos warning signage and barricades.
  • For non-friable asbestos removal:
    • Set up an asbestos removal work area with minimum:
      • Asbestos warning signage and barricades.
      • Dry decontamination area.
  • Ensure asbestos removalists are provided with suitable PPE in the form of:
    • Face fitted full face P3 respirator for friable ACM removal.
    • Face fitted half face P2 respirators for non-friable ACM removal.
    • Type 5 & 6 disposable coveralls.
    • Cover boots or dedicated asbestos removal footwear such as steel capped gum boots.
    • Gloves.
    • Eye protection.
  • Personnel engaged in asbestos removal must have also undertaken health monitoring;
  • Asbestos-containing materials are to be removed with minimal breakage and via wet methods if appropriate;
  • No brooms or mechanical tools are to be used during the removal process;
  • An H Type HEPA vacuum must be utilised for the decontamination of the area along with wet wiping techniques;
  • All asbestos waste must be either double wrapped in 200 µm polythene sheeting or double bagged in asbestos waste bags;
  • Asbestos waste must be transported directly to a landfill facility licensed to accept asbestos waste and tipping receipt provided as proof of appropriate disposal.
asbestos removal

Licensed Asbestos Assessor / Competent Person (Asbestos Hygienist)

Current WHS legislation requires an asbestos hygienist to be engaged to certify the asbestos removal.  This includes:  

  • Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA) for friable asbestos removal.
  • LAA or Competent Person for non-friable asbestos removal.

The asbestos hygienist responsibilities lie in certifying that the asbestos-containing material has been removed satisfactorily and the area is safe to reoccupy.  This includes:

  • Review of the licensed asbestos removal contractors ARCP, regulator notification and SWMS;
  • Undertaking an enclosure integrity inspection and smoke test for any friable asbestos removal enclosures;
  • Inspection of the asbestos removal area for non-friable ACM removal to ensure it is set up appropriately;
  • Undertaking NATA accredited asbestos fibre air monitoring:
    • This must be undertaken as control and clearance monitoring for any friable asbestos removal;
    • It is recommended as control monitoring for any non-friable asbestos removal
  • Undertake a visual clearance inspection to show that the ACM has been removed and all visible dust and debris has been cleared from the area.  This should also include an inspection of any transit and waste routes;
  • If a decontamination unit is being used, the LAA must undertake a clearance inspection and air monitoring of the unit prior to its demolition from site;
  • A clearance certificate must be developed in accordance with Appendix D of the How to Safely Remove Asbestos, Code of Practice and must detail:
    • The ACM removed.
    • The details of the asbestos removal contractor and asbestos hygienist.
    • If air monitoring was undertaken and if the results were below the limit of reporting.
    • That the ACM was removed satisfactorily and the area was free of visible dust and debris.
    • Details of any remaining ACM that could not be removed at the time.
  • Finally the asbestos register and management plan for the site must be updated to reflect the removal works.

EDP’s experienced LAA’s and asbestos hygienists can assist with the entire process including the development of site specific asbestos removal specifications and guidance throughout the process.