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Hazard-free asbestos waste removal

Posted on August 1st, 2018 in Demolition

Demolition can be a hazardous occupation at the best of times. When a building or other structure contains asbestos – or if there’s even a risk that asbestos may be present – there can be even greater risks for site workers and other people in the area.

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 outlines requirements for asbestos removal during demolition projects for each state and territory. These need to be followed to the letter, to ensure the safety of your personnel and to avoid penalties.

Are you licensed?

Asbestos removalists and supervisors need to be trained and certified in the specific class of asbestos present.

If more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos needs to be removed, the demolition firm or asbestos removalist carrying out the removal must hold a class-A or B asbestos removal licence.

Who do you need to notify?

Before any removal or demolition work is carried out, the company responsible for the removal needs to prepare an asbestos removal control plan.

They must notify Workplace Health and Safety, the owner or occupier of the property being demolished, owners of neighbouring properties and anyone else who may be affected.

Can the asbestos be removed?

When you’ve identified the location of all asbestos in the structure, you need to determine whether it can be safely removed before demolition commences.

Asbestos must always be removed when it’s practicable to do so. If there isn’t enough time before demolition, or removal would risk making the structure unstable, evidence of this needs to be provided.

What if it can’t be removed?

If asbestos can’t be removed before demolition, steps need to be taken to minimise the spread of airborne fibres within the demolition zone, as these can cause respiratory problems and diseases if inhaled.

This typically involves wetting the asbestos to suppress the release of fibres. The underlying soil should also be wetted and excavated to a depth of 30-50mm, and water run-off must be controlled to contain the contaminated water.

How to secure your site

During and following asbestos removal and demolition, your site needs to be secured. Set up barricades and warning signs to keep out unauthorised personnel.

Everyone working on your site needs to be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including disposable full-body coveralls, safety boots and respiratory equipment.

If you’re removing or demolishing class-A asbestos, an independent licensed asbestos assessor will need to be present to monitor the air.

How to safely dispose of asbestos

All asbestos waste needs to be sealed in two layers of 200-micrometre polythene and labelled. Excavated soil that may contain asbestos also needs to be sealed. It then needs to be transported to a landfill site approved for asbestos waste.

Following asbestos removal or demolition, your site needs to be assessed by a competent person (class-B asbestos) or an independent licensed asbestos assessor (class-A). A clearance certificate will be issued when the site is confirmed to be free from asbestos waste.

Find out more about the challenges facing demolition today

Hear the latest news and developments about civil construction and demolition at the National Construction Equipment Convention (NCEC).

This three-day event dedicated to all areas of civil construction and infrastructure is taking place at Sydney Showground from 15-17 November 2018.

Visit to find out more.


WorkCover Queensland. Asbestos and demolition.