Finding, identifying and recording asbestos
Types of asbestos
Friable asbestos is asbestos in a powder form or that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.
Non-friable asbestos is material containing asbestos fibres reinforced with a bonding compound. It is also known as bonded asbestos and can be found in products such as asbestos cement sheeting commonly used in building materials between 1940’s to the late 1980’s.
Common locations of asbestos
Asbestos sampling and testing
The only way to be certain that something contains asbestos is to have a sample tested in a laboratory. Treat all suspected asbestos as asbestos until test results confirm otherwise.
All asbestos testing should be done by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited facility. NATA accreditation is formal recognition that the facility produces reliable technical results.
A list of NATA accredited facilities is available on the NATA website.
It is strongly recommended that you use a licensed professional to collect samples of suspected asbestos for testing.
Asbestos registers and asbestos management plans
If your workplace was built before 31 December 2003 or if asbestos has been identified at the workplace, you must keep a register that outlines:
- when the asbestos was found
- where it is located
- what type of asbestos it is
- what condition it is in.
You must also:
- make the register available to anyone likely to be exposed to asbestos,
- keep it up to date
- pass it on to anyone who takes over management or control of the workplace.
Asbestos management plan
If asbestos has been identified at your workplace, you must prepare and maintain an asbestos management plan, regardless if the asbestos is naturally occurring or manufactured.
Your plan must include:
- reference (or a link) to the asbestos register, and signage and labelling
- safe work procedures and control measures
- incident and emergency procedures
- consultation arrangements, responsibilities and training details of workers undertaking asbestos removal or asbestos related work.
You must review the plan at least every five years or when:
- requested by a health and safety representative (HSR)
- asbestos is removed, disturbed, sealed or enclosed.
The plan must be available to anyone involved in work at the workplace.