Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the manufacture of building materials and other products prior to being phased out in 1990 and banned in 2003 resulting in at least 1 in 3 Australian homes containing asbestos.

Homes built –

  • Prior to 1987 are considered ‘highly likely’ to contain asbestos containing material
  • Between 1987 and 1990 are considered ‘likely’ to contain some asbestos containing material
  • After 1990 are considered ‘unlikely’ to contain asbestos containing material.

 

Common building materials containing asbestos include fibro sheeting (flat or corrugated), water drainage and flue pipes, floor and wall coverings.

If material is in good, stable condition; it does not pose as health risk and generally does not need to be removed. It is safe to paint to provide further protection to asbestos containing material. Never cut, drill, sand or pressure wash the material.

Dealing with Asbestos

Dealing with asbestos is serious, but it is not overwhelming. If you are renovating or working around the home and you are in doubt, assume asbestos materials are present and have them tested by a professional before proceeding. Professional removal of asbestos is affordable and comparable to most licenced tradesmen like electricians and plumbers.

When renovating your home it is also important to consider if a building permit is required prior to commencing work. Venatic Building and Pest have information on permit requirements and obtaining permits here.

Finding a Removalist

If your Venatic report recommends engaging a licenced asbestos removalist or you are planning on having other renovation work done and you are unsure if the building materials in your home contain asbestos, it is highly recommended that you engage a licenced asbestos removalist. You can find a licenced asbestos removalist by using the WorkSafe Victoria ‘Find a licensed removalist’ search tool, use Google to search for a reputable licensed contractor in your local area or ask your Venatic inspector for a referral.

Ask for your Asbestos Removalists Licence

Your Asbestos Removalist must hold one of two licences issued by WorkSafe

  • Class B Licence

A class B Licence holder is only permitted to perform Class B asbestos removal work, which means asbestos removal work (other than limited asbestos removal work) involving the removal of:

  1. Non-friable asbestos, or
  2. Asbestos-contaminated dust associated with or derived from the removal of non-friable asbestos.
  • Class A Licence

A class A Licence holder are permitted to perform both Class B and Class A asbestos removal work, which means asbestos removal work (other than limited asbestos removal work) involving the removal of:

  1. Friable asbestos, or
  2. Asbestos-contaminated dust (other than asbestos-contaminated dust associated with or derived from the removal of non-friable asbestos).

Your Asbestos Removalist must comply with a number of requirements, including:

  • EPA licencing and approval for transport and/or storage
  • Appointing a nominated supervisor to oversee the removal work
  • Developing an asbestos control plan before the job commences
  • Informing all employers and other persons occupying premises in the immediate and adjacent areas of proposed domestic removal work
  • Using specific methods for removal, waste containment and waste disposal
  • Using signs and barricades
  • Providing decontamination facilities
  • Providing employees with information, training, personal protective clothing and equipment, and medical examinations.

Who to contact if you have issues

If your asbestos removalist does not show you his/her licence or if you have concerns about the safety or work practices of your asbestos removal job, contact WorkSafe on 1800 136 089.

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