Transporting structures containing asbestos
Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were used extensively throughout Australian buildings and structures, plant and equipment and in ships, trains and motor vehicles between the 1950’s and 1970’s, with some new uses recorded until 31 December 2003.
The importation of asbestos or ACM into Australia is now prohibited under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulation 1956.
Relocation of structures containing ACM is not generally allowed, however requests to move structures without first removing all non-friable ACM will be considered by us.
If you believe it’s not reasonably practicable to remove all non-friable ACM, you can request approval to relocate it.
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, ‘reasonably practicable’ means an act which is reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety. Visit the Safe Work Australia for the full definition.
All ACM should be removed from buildings before relocation.
Moving buildings containing ACM can cause the ACM to become loose and fall off, causing a hazard in transit or when the building is reconstructed (such as unloading, re-stumping, re-piering, re-joining and re-plumbing of services).
This could result in expensive clean-up costs and potential health hazards.
Any ACM that is removed cannot be reused.
If it is not reasonably practicable to remove ACM from a structure before it is moved, a competent person needs to:
- identify and record any ACM or presumed ACM in the structure, which must be readily available to us, and to those working with the structure
- identify any ACM in poor condition, and removed prior to the transportation.
People relocating structures must have undertaken asbestos awareness training that takes into consideration:
- loading of structure
- transportation and visual inspection of asbestos material
- unloading of structure
- reconstruction of structure
Controls must be in place to prevent damage to any ACM, and to prevent any ACM falling out of, or from, the structure being transported.
For example, a structure that has ACM wall sheeting or cladding must have the sheeting or cladding supported from underneath to prevent it from being damaged. Loosely fitted eaves and veranda ceiling panels should be removed due to increased risk of damage by vibration during transportation.
ACM, or material presumed to be ACM, that is likely to be damaged or disturbed during work must be removed from the structure before it is transported.
For example, an asbestos cement sheet ceiling or wall must not be cut in half as part of preparing a house to be transported. Instead, the entire asbestos cement sheet panel must be removed using proper control measures to minimise exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.
Transportation routes need to be decided before moving, and local councils consulted prior to any movement of asbestos structures into their boundaries.
During transportation, inspection of the structure must be conducted periodically to ensure it has not been damaged and that ACM has not, or are not at risk, of falling from the structure.
If travelling over rough or uneven surfaces, more regular inspections will be required.
Finally, ACM that has been removed from the structure must not be re-used, or re-installed.
Request approval to relocate
Before you move any structure containing ACM, you need to give us:
- your business name and ABN
- the addresses of where the structure will be moved from and to
- proof of council consultation
- copy of the asbestos register for the structure
- reasons why it is not reasonably practicable to remove the ACM
- the name and asbestos-related qualifications of the person who will be transporting the structure
- details of ACM to be removed prior to the relocation, i.e.
- friable ACM
- ACM in poor condition, and
- ACM which could be damaged during the relocation; and
- controls used to prevent damage to any ACM, including to prevent any ACM falling out of, or from, the structure to which the approval applies
Please make your request via firstname.lastname@example.org
Friable asbestos removal
Any friable asbestos installed or fixed in the structure must be removed by a Class A friable asbestos licence removalist in accordance with the regulations before the structure is transported (regardless of whether it is likely to be damaged or not during transportation).
The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (‘the regulation/s’), Chapter 8, deals with asbestos and ACM.
Clause 419 (1) of the regulations is about “Work involving asbestos or ACM – prohibitions and exceptions” and states “a person conducting a business or undertaking must not carry out, or direct or allow a worker to carry out, work involving asbestos”.
In this clause, work involves:
- disposing of or
- disturbing asbestos or ACM.
Subclause (3) of clause 419 then provides specific examples as to when clause 419 (1) does not apply. This position paper deals with subclause (4).
It reads “Subclause (1) does not apply if the regulator approves the method adopted for managing the risk associated with asbestos”.
Note: some states have not adopted the regulations; please contact your state regulator relating to Work Health and Safety by using the links at the end of this document.