Asbestos management for general workplaces
The new WHS Regulations cover asbestos management, asbestos removal, and asbestos-related work.
A new class of licence, referred to as an asbestos assessor, has been introduced, and will be mandatory for conducting air monitoring and clearances for Class A (friable) removal work from 31 March 2023.
Effective asbestos management assists people with management and control of buildings and other workplace structures to prevent workers and visitors being exposed to airborne asbestos fibres. The WHS legislation specifies:
- All asbestos containing material (ACM) at the workplace must be identified:
- if a material cannot be tested but a competent person believes it to be ACM then it must be assumed to be asbestos.
- if part of a workplace is inaccessible and likely to contain ACM then it must be assumed that asbestos is present in that workplace.
- All samples must be analysed by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.
- The presence and location of ACM must be identified and labelled where reasonably practicable.
- An asbestos register must be developed and kept at the workplace. It must include the date on which the ACM was identified, the location, the type, and its condition. An asbestos register developed under the repealed OSH legislation is deemed valid under WHS legislation, however, must be reviewed if a control measure is required to be reviewed or otherwise reviewed by 31 March 2023.
- A written asbestos management plan must be developed. The information in the plan must contain identification of ACM, decisions, and reasons about the management of asbestos at the workplace, procedures for detailing incidents or emergencies in relation to ACM and it must be readily accessible to workers, health and safety representatives and PCBUs.
- The asbestos management plan must be reviewed under the following circumstances:
- when there is a review of the asbestos register or a control measure
- when asbestos is removed or remediated
- if the plan is no longer adequate
- if a health and safety representative requests a review, or
- at least once every 5 years.
WHS Regulations relating to asbestos registers and asbestos management plans do not apply to any part of a residential premises that is only used for residential purposes.
Looking for guidance?
WorkSafe has developed several resources to assist stakeholders understand the new asbestos requirements: