Asbestos

Asbestos was commonly used in building materials from the 1940s until the mid-1990s.  Because exposure to asbestos can cause disease, a national ban on the manufacture, importation and installation of products containing asbestos was introduced from 1 January 2004.

The inhalation of asbestos fibres may result in serious diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer.  Because the level of exposure that may cause health problems is unknown, any exposure to asbestos should be avoided.

Asbestos may be found either firmly or loosely bound in a number of products once used in the Australian building industry, including:

Asbestos may also be found in a range of other products.

It is estimated that at least one in every three buildings constructed between the 1940's and 1990's contain asbestos products.

What does asbestos look like?

It is very difficult to identify asbestos by looking at it. If you are uncertain about what a substance is, you should treat it as though it contains asbestos. The only way to be certain is to have a sample analysed by a laboratory. A licensed asbestos removalist could also help identify materials containing asbestos.

Does my home contain asbestos containing materials (ACM)?

As a general rule, if your home was built before 1990, it is likely to contain some ACM.  ACMs were used in more than 3000 products and it is estimated to be in up to one-third of homes across Australia.

Most building materials that contain ACM in a domestic home are safe if they are in good condition sealed and left alone.

ACMs can be found on the inside and outside of homes.

Inside, asbestos cement wall sheeting could be painted, wallpapered or tiled.  Some sheet vinyl flooring types may have an ACM backing or there could be products such as Tilux used in the bathroom.

Outside, ACMs were often used in various profiles as wall cladding, under eaves or as corrugated Super Six roof sheeting.  Asbestos was also used in vent pipes and the surrounds of disconnector traps, or even the backing board to an electrical switchboard.

ACM may be found either firmly or loosely bound in a number of products once used in the Australian building industry, including:

  • roofing and shingles
  • under eaves
  • exterior wall cladding
  • interior walls and wet areas
  • fencing
  • thermal boards around fireplaces and in switch boards
  • backing material on floor tiles and vinyl flooring
  • gaskets and seals in wood stoves
  • textured paint
  • garages and workshops
  • the brakes, clutches and gaskets of cars
  • insulation used on hot water pipes, hot water cylinders, domestic heaters and stoves.

More examples of ACMs with pictures are available following this link:

http://www.asbestostesting.com.au/asbestos-pictures/

Will I do my own renovation or get a licensed professional to help?

If less than 10m² of non-friable asbestos is to be removed or disturbed, you don’t need a licence, but you still need to take precautions to avoid exposure to asbestos fibres to both yourself and others.

You must however ensure that you comply with all relevant legislation regarding the removal, transport and disposal of the ACM.

Non-friable ACMs are rigid and the fibres are tightly bound together in a substance, such as cement.  A common non-friable ACM is fibro, also known as asbestos cement or AC sheeting.

Friable ACMs are loosely bound together and can easily crumble under hand pressure.  They are only to be removed by a licensed Class A asbestos removalist.  A common friable asbestos product is found in the backing to some sheet vinyl floor coverings.

If you are employing any contractors on the property, regardless of the trade, and ACM is present, it is a workplace as defined by the Work Health and Safety Act and WorkSafe Tasmania is the relevant authority.

You should direct any enquiries to WorkSafe Tasmania on 1300 366 322.

The Council will only become involved where a home owner (i.e. no contractors are working on the property) is removing ACM.

Please note that Council does not administer the Work Health and Safety legislation.

 

I have more than 10m² of non-friable ACM to remove.  What do I do now?

Council administers the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.  As ACM is a Controlled Waste, Council can issue an Environment Protection Notice to prevent the likelihood of environmental harm or nuisance.

Should you wish to remove more than 10m² of ACM, Council may issue an Environment Protection Notice under Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 requiring that you cannot remove the ACM yourself and you need to engage a licensed asbestos removalist.

What should I do if I find asbestos?

If you are concerned about any asbestos in your home you should contact a licensed asbestos removalist who can assist you. A list of licensed asbestos removalists can be found on the Workplace Standards Tasmania website at www.wst.tas.gov.au (search for 'licensed asbestos removalists') or by contacting the Workplace Standards Helpline on 1300 366 322.

May I remove asbestos from my home?

It is recommended that you contact a licensed asbestos removalist if you are considering having asbestos removed from your home.  Asbestos is dangerous and while it is not illegal for you to remove asbestos from a property that you own, you are strongly advised not to do so unless you have undertaken training and are competent in safe asbestos removal practices.

You must consider your health and safety if you are considering doing asbestos removal.  You must also consider the health and safety of other people in the area, including children, and people on neighbouring properties.  These people may be exposed to asbestos fibres released during removal works.

How do I dispose of asbestos?

Asbestos is classified as a hazardous material, so there are rules about how it can be transported and where it can be disposed of. If you are planning to remove asbestos yourself, you need to contact your local council first.  Your local council can tell you about any planning approvals or permits that are required before you begin.

How does the asbestos need to be prepared for disposal?

Asbestos waste should be prepared for disposal in accordance with the Safe Work Australia "Code of Practice for the Safe Removal of Asbestos" (available at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/).  This includes:

CAUTION - ASBESTOS

DO NOT DAMAGE OR OPEN BAG

DO NOT INHALE DUST

CANCER AND LUNG DISEASE HAZARD

Where is my nearest asbestos disposal facility?

Hobart City Council-McRobies Gully Landfill Site- McRobies Road, South Hobart

Glenorchy City Council-Waste Management Centre- Jackson Street, Glenorchy

What are the costs of asbestos disposal at my nearest disposal facility?

McRobies Gully - approx $25 per flat trailer load (6 x 4).

Glenorchy Tip at Jackson Street - $200.00 per tonne or part there of and $100.00 per tonne there after.  (Costs are as of  October 2011)

How do I contact my local disposal facility?

McRobies Gully (6224 8519)

Glenorchy Tip at Jackson Street (6216 6712)

On which days/times can I take my asbestos to my nearest disposal facility?

McRobies Gully Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 11am -1pm

Glenorchy Tip at Jackson Street Monday - Friday before 3pm

 

 

 

Useful links

WorkSafe Tasmania website:  http://worksafe.tas.gov.au

WorkSafe Tasmania - Asbestos page:  http://www.worksafe.tas.gov.au/safety/safety_subjects/subject/asbestos

Work Health and Safety Act 2012:  https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2012-001

Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012:  https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/sr-2012-122

WorkSafe Australia website:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA 

WorkSafe Australia - Asbestos page:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/asbestos/pages/asbestos

Code of Practice – How to Safely Remove Asbestos:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/safely-remove-asbestos-cop

EPA Tasmania website:  http://epa.tas.gov.au/

EPA Tasmania – Controlled Waste page:  http://epa.tas.gov.au/regulation-site/Pages/Controlled-Waste.aspx

Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2010:  https://www.legislation.tas.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/sr-2010-104

 

Useful contacts

Clarence City Council Environmental Health Services - 6245 8614

Information is also available at www.wst.tas.gov.au or by phoning the Workplace Standards Helpline on 1300 366 322 (inside Tasmania) or (03) 6233 7657 (outside Tasmania).




Clarence City Council
38 Bligh Street (PO Box 96)
Rosny Park, Tasmania 7018
Telephone:(03) 62 17 9500




Page URL: http://www.ccc.tas.gov.au/page.aspx?u=1616

Page last Reviewed: 2011-11-08T16:08:05