How to Remove Asbestos
In Victoria, the removal of asbestos is regulated by different authorities depending on a number of factors such as whether it is a commercial or residential property, the size of the asbestos item and the person carrying out the work.
It is fundamental that the company you employ to remove asbestos is fully licensed (either as Class A - friable and bonded or Class B - bonded only). Request the Asbestos Licence Number and contact WorkSafe to ensure that the company is allowed to remove asbestos from your property. Failure to ensure that a licensed contractor is carrying out work may result in both the company and yourself, as the property owner, being fined.
Please make sure the license of the removalist you choose is appropriate for the job.
You can find a list of all licensed removalists under the WorkSafe Service Provider Directory page, then click on the link 'Asbestos - Licensed Removalists'.
If you are concerned with the manner in which a contractor is removing asbestos from either your property, or a neighbour's, please contact WorkSafe. The party may be in breach of the OH&S (Asbestos) Regulations 2007 - Part 4.3.
Removing Asbestos Yourself
Although householders are legally entitled to carry out asbestos removal, we DO NOT recommend this practice. According to the Occupational Health & Safety Regulations 2007 Part 4.3 Division 7 Subdivision 2, an unlicensed person may remove non-friable asbestos material if the area does not exceed 10m2 and the total time over which the removal is performed does not exceed one hour in a 7-day period.
If you decide to remove asbestos yourself, we strongly recommend careful handling and adherence to safety practices. Asbestos fibres are dangerous and pose a risk not only to yourself, but to your family and neighbours. If the product is loosely-bound we urge you to seek a licensed professional.
If you are removing firmly-bound asbestos, we suggest you wear disposable personal protective equipment (PPE). Double wrap the material in strong, thick (at least 0.2mm) plastic bags labelled as "Asbestos". Dispose of the material along with the breathing apparatus and protective clothing at an appropriate waste treatment centre.
If you have concerns that a neighbour is removing asbestos without taking appropriate precautions, please contact your local council. The party may be breaching the Health Act 1958 and the Building Act 1993.
What If Your Neighbours Are Removing Asbestos?
Your neighbours, who are removing asbestos themselves or having it removed, must adhere to several rules which you, as their neighbour, need to be aware of. If you have concerns about the way in which asbestos is being removed from a neighbouring property, please remember the following:-
- If there are paid workers on a site, then it's a workplace. Any removal of non-friable asbestos OVER 10 square metres, or even small amounts of friable asbestos, must be removed by licensed removalists only.
- A licensed removalist MUST notify any other employers at the site or adjacent to the site of the asbestos removal – but has no duty to notify householders.
- If you have concerns about the work of a removalist on a neighbour’s property, then call WorkSafe. As there are workers on the site, it is a workplace therefore WorkSafe is obliged to investigate.
- If you have concerns about how your neighbors are doing the work themselves, then call your local council and ask to speak to the Environmental Health Officer. You can then make a complaint under the nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
Applying for an Asbestos Removalist Licence
Visit the WorkSafe Asbestos Removalist Licence website for more information on becoming a licensed asbestos removalist. Here you will find the Asbestos Removal Application Package. Please direct any queries relating to licensing to WorkSafe.