Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once used in building construction. If inhaled it can have serious health implications.
Under NSW occupational health and safety legislation, material that contains asbestos is referred to as friable or bonded. Bonded asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos that is bonded and cannot be crushed by hand when dry. Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos that is in powder form or can be crumbled by hand when dry.
WorkCover NSW has developed an asbestos fact sheet which provides general information on asbestos:
WorkCover NSW requires that certain asbestos removal work be licensed under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001. Occupational health and safety regulations place obligations on licence holders to ensure that asbestos work is performed in a manner that reduces the risk to the health of both asbestos workers and the public.
A licence is required to remove:
- more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos
- friable asbestos
The WorkCover NSW website provides further information on the licencing requirements.
When pollution of land is suspected by the dumping of asbestos waste on private or public land, the Council can investigate any offences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
Workcover NSW is responsbile under the OH&S Regulations on building sites where paid workers are undertaking the works.
Links to relevant government websites which provide up to date information dealing with asbestos:
- WorkCover NSW
- NSW Government – Fibro and Asbestos a Practical Guide
- Department of Environment and Climate Change