The Managing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, 2018 was published on 11 October 2018. It replaces the Managing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, 2008. The new code is based on the old code and is designed to:

  • be easy to read and use
  • align with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations)
  • reflect modern work practices and state of knowledge
  • align with other updated compliance codes.

New content

Some new content has been added, particularly in relation to:

  • the 'Order Prohibiting the Removal of Certain Asbestos at Workplaces' made under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Order) which was incorporated into the OHS Regulations.

Reference and style changes

The new code includes some standard updates:

  • New references to relevant legislation when legal duties apply
  • Additional cross-references to make related information easier to find in the code
  • Information about Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) duties as well as OHS Regulations duties.

How to use this guide

The differences between the old and new codes are outlined in the following sections.

The sections reflect the new layout for the codes. Under each section is a short summary of the key changes and under this summary is a table that lists the headings of the old and new code for ease of comparison.

Introduction

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • Guidance on duty holders has been removed as it is covered in the 'Application' section of the new code.
  • The scope has been updated for consistency with other compliance codes.
  • A reference has been included for employers or self-employed persons performing demolition or refurbishment work at a workplace where asbestos is present.

Breakout boxes have been included to:

  • refer readers to further information on 'reasonably practicable'
  • outline the revised language framework
  • outline the key abbreviations
  • the consultation section has been updated to be consistent with other compliance codes.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • introduction
  • scope
  • application
  • consultation
  • introduction
  • purpose
  • scope
  • application
  • consultation

General requirements of Part 4.4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • the duties of a person who manages or controls a workplace, an employer, and a self-employed person have been separated to improve clarity
  • new information on employee duties
  • a new breakout box providing additional information on determining who has management or control of a workplace.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • duty to control exposure to airborne asbestos fibres
  • duty to control exposure to airborne asbestos fibres

Prohibitions

What has changed

The key change is:

  • additional guidance on the commonwealth prohibitions.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • regulatory prohibitions
  • prohibitions

Prohibitions under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • A new section on the prohibition to manufacture asbestos.
  • The guidance on supplier duties has been removed.
  • The 'Responsibilities of importers and suppliers of goods and materials' section from the old code has been substantively redrafted and is now called 'Duties applying subsequent to importing goods that may or are suspected of containing asbestos'.

The addition of new breakout boxes to:

  • outline an example of how the Commonwealth and OHS Regulations prohibitions apply to a scenario where a builder unknowingly imports asbestos containing building products
  • outline examples of imported goods that may contain asbestos
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • exclusions from the dangerous goods prohibitions
  • supply, storage, transport, sale and use of fixed or installed asbestos
  • responsibilities of importers and suppliers of goods and materials
  • general exclusions
  • manufacture of asbestos
  • supply, storage, transport, sale, use, re-use, installation and replacement of asbestos
  • duties applying subsequent to importing goods that may or are suspected of containing asbestos

Prohibitions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • an additional exclusion for the removal of asbestos encountered in the course of non- asbestos mining or the extraction of stone
  • a new breakout box outlining waste disposal sites licensed or exempted by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

New guidance:

  • on an employer or self-employed person duties under the OHS Act to ensure that persons are not exposed to risks to their health
  • outlining that prohibition does not apply where contamination arises from asbestos removal work or the carrying out of asbestos-related activities (as specific regulations apply).
  • on exclusion to prohibition where airborne asbestos fibre levels are not in excess of 0.01 f/ml while the tool or instrument is in use
  • on employer or self-employer person's duty not to rely on RPE to ensure that one half the exposure standard is not exceeded
  • an additional example on the prohibition to use compressed air or other compressed gages within six metres of an activity involving asbestos
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • prohibitions on asbestos removal
  • contaminated clothing
  • use of tools or instruments on asbestos
  • use of compressed air and other gasses
  • asbestos removal work
  • removal of contaminated protective clothing
  • use of certain tools or instruments on asbestos
  • use of compressed air and other compressed gases

Asbestos in workplaces

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • a new example of an employer who notifies the person with management or control of the workplace that asbestos-contaminated dust is identified
  • guidance on 'Domestic premises' substantively redrafted to clarify the duties under Divisions 6 and 8 which apply, and duties under Division 5 which do not apply, where work is being performed at domestic premises

Additional guidance on:

  • Commonwealth and OHS Regulations prohibitions
  • the duties of a person who manages or controls a workplace and an employer at a workplace
  • assuming dust and soil to be contaminated with asbestos
  • outlining the duty to record details of inaccessible areas that are likely to contain asbestos in the asbestos register and employer's asbestos register
  • outlining that the OHS Act duties of the person identifying asbestos to other persons
  • employer's duty to control any risk associated with carrying out an asbestos-related activity
  • A new breakout box providing guidance to importers of goods from countries which still manufacture asbestos-containing material (ACM).
  • The case study in the 'inaccessible areas likely to contain asbestos' section has been substantively redrafted.
  • Additional examples have been included in the 'Information to be recorded when asbestos has been identified' section.
  • 'Table 1: An example of an extract from a report' has been removed.
  • A new breakout box outlining definitions of 'Friable', 'Non-friable', and 'Asbestos-contaminated dust (ACD)'.
  • The 'Taking asbestos samples' section has been streamlined to reduce duplication of 'Appendix C – Taking asbestos samples'.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • asbestos in workplaces
  • duty to identify asbestos
  • competence of people identifying asbestos
  • how to identify asbestos
  • assuming asbestos to be present
  • inaccessible areas likely to contain asbestos
  • information to be recorded when asbestos has been identified
  • taking asbestos samples
  • analysis of asbestos samples
  • asbestos in workplaces
  • duty to identify asbestos
  • persons identifying asbestos
  • how to identify asbestos
  • assuming asbestos to be present
  • inaccessible areas likely to contain asbestos
  • information to be recorded when asbestos has been identified
  • taking asbestos samples
  • analysis of asbestos samples

Asbestos register

What has changed

The key changes include:

'Asbestos register' and 'Employer's asbestos register' have been separated to improve clarity

additional examples to provide guidance on duties to inform persons engaged to do work at a workplace that involves the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres of the asbestos register and provide access to that register.

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • duty to record results of identification in an asbestos register
  • information that must be recorded in an asbestos register
  • access to the asbestos register
  • reviewing the asbestos register
  • keeping a copy of the asbestos register
  • duty to record results of identification in an asbestos register
  • information that must be recorded in an asbestos register
  • access to the asbestos register
  • reviewing the asbestos register
  • keeping a copy of the asbestos register

Indicating the presence of asbestos

What has changed

The key change is:

the 'Indicating the presence of asbestos' section has been substantively updated to include new guidance on labelling methods.

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • indicating the presence of asbestos
  • indicating the presence of asbestos

Controlling risks to health associated with the presence of asbestos

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • the revision of the ordering of the list ranking the likelihood of asbestos fibres becoming airborne
  • additional guidance on the prohibition to re-use, install and replace asbestos
  • guidance on Division 8 duties in relation to enclosing asbestos removed to reduce duplication
  • the duties of a person who manages or controls a workplace and that of an employer are dealt with separately to improve clarity
  • new guidance on duties to revise risk control measures:
    • after an incident occurs to which Part 5 of the OHS Act applies
    • if the risk control measures do not adequately control the risk
    • after receiving a request for review by an HSR
  • the method of indicating the presence and location of asbestos included as an additional matter on which information, instruction and training needs to be provided.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • deciding if there is a risk to health that needs controlling
  • controlling risk using the hierarchy of control measures
  • proper installation and maintenance of control measures
  • information, instruction and training
  • deciding if there is a risk to health that needs controlling
  • controlling risk using the hierarchy of control
  • proper installation and maintenance of risk control measures
  • information, instruction, training and supervision

Demolition and refurbishment

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • the removal of a breakout box referring to fixed and installed ACM
  • 'difference between demolition and refurbishment under the regulations' and 'removal of fixed or installed asbestos in stages during refurbishment' sections removed and included as a breakout box in the 'Identification and removal of asbestos before demolition or refurbishment' section
  • a new section on the duties of employers or self-employed persons performing minor or routine maintenance work, or work of a minor nature
  • additional guidance on exemption:
    • where demolition work is undertaken in an emergency
    • partial demolition of domestic premises to gain access to asbestos.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • demolition and refurbishment
  • definition of the terms 'demolition' and 'refurbishment'
  • review of the asbestos register prior to demolition or refurbishment
  • duties that apply if no asbestos register exists for the workplace
  • what to do if the asbestos register indicates that asbestos is present
  • demolition and refurbishment at domestic premises
  • conducting asbestos removal prior to demolition or refurbishment
  • workplace emergency where asbestos is present
  • demolition and refurbishment
  • definition of the terms 'demolition' and 'refurbishment'
  • duties of employers or self-employed persons performing minor or routine maintenance work or work of a minor nature
  • review of the asbestos register prior to demolition or refurbishment
  • duties that apply if no asbestos register exists for the workplace
  • identification and removal of asbestos before demolition and refurbishment
  • workplace emergency where asbestos is present

Demolition and refurbishment

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • additional guidance outlining the information that should be included in an asbestos management plan and the circumstances in which an asbestos management plan should be reviewed
  • the simplification of figure.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • asbestos management plan
  • asbestos management plan

Asbestos-related activities

What has changed

The key changes include additional guidance on an employer's duty to:

  • make a record of training
  • provide personal protective equipment (PPE) that is suitable for the activity being carried out and is correctly fitted
  • provide information, instruction and training to employees
  • contain contaminated equipment before it is removed from the work area
  • obtain current safety data sheets (SDS)
  • control any risk associated with hazardous substances

Additional guidance about:

  • the circumstances in which an employer must obtain an asbestos register or employer's asbestos register
  • exemptions from the duty to provide information to job applicants
  • an employee's duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • the requirements for signs and that the type and placement of barricades needs to reflect the level of risk
  • the prohibition on the use of certain tools and instruments (and the associated exemption)
  • standards for Dust Class H vacuum cleaners and HEPA filters
  • the use of Dust Class H vacuum cleaners

Updates to improve the alignment with the guidance on information, instruction, training, and supervision provided elsewhere in the code, and in the Removing asbestos in workplaces compliance code.

Example of isolation by distance updated to refer to the laboratory analysis of suspected asbestos.

New guidance about duties to revise risk control measures:

  • after an incident occurs to which Part 5 of the OHS Act applies
  • after receiving a request for review by an HSR

Guidance on Dust Class H vacuum cleaners removed to reduce duplication

'Using and emptying asbestos vacuum cleaners' section has been substantively redrafted and renamed to 'Using and emptying Dust Class H vacuum cleaners'

New guidance on the purpose of medical examinations

New example on what is defined to be an 'ongoing asbestos-related activity'.

Removal of the guidance on the duty to notify WorkSafe of the registered medical practitioner's details

New guidance on an employer's duties to:

  • provide atmospheric monitoring
  • pay for any medical examinations
  • retain a copy of the summary of medical results
  • provide a copy of the results of a medical examination report or summary in certain circumstances
  • ensure that the results or atmospheric monitoring are readily accessible

New breakout box about:

  • HSR's access to information that an employer has relating to the health and safety of the members of a DWG
  • providing guidance on avoiding the re-contamination of rags used for wet wiping
  • outlining waste disposal sites licensed or exempted by the EPA
  • recommending that the packaging, transporting and disposing of asbestos waste should be undertaken by asbestos removal specialists

New guidance about:

  • duties related to the storage of asbestos waste at a workplace for the purpose of disposal
    • the requirements of a person engaged to transport asbestos waste for disposal purposes
  • a new section on laundering of personal protective clothing that is likely to be contaminated with asbestos, based on guidance previously included in the Removing asbestos in workplaces compliance code.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • identifying regulated asbestos-related activities
  • information and training must be provided
  • employer's duty to control risks to health associated with asbestos-related activities
  • employer's duty to review and revise risk control measures
  • work area to be separated and signs and barricades to be used
  • cleaning the work area
  • using and emptying asbestos vacuum cleaners
  • medical examinations for employees who conduct asbestos-related activities
  • decontamination at the end of an activity
  • employer's duty to contain and dispose of asbestos waste
  • identifying regulated asbestos-related activities
  • information, instruction, training, and supervision
  • information to job applicants
  • employer's duty to control risks to health associated with asbestos-related activities
  • employer's duty to review and revise risk control measures
  • signs and barricades to be used and work area to be separated
  • cleaning the work area
  • using and emptying Dust Class H vacuum cleaners
  • medical examinations for employees engaged in asbestos-related activities
  • decontamination at the end of the activity
  • employer's duty to contain and dispose of asbestos waste
  • laundering of clothing contaminated with asbestos

Appendices

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • New definitions on 'Asbestos contaminated dust (ACD)', 'Asbestos-related activities', 'Exposure standard', 'Limited asbestos removal work', 'Membrane Filter Method', 'Safe Work Australia (SWA)', 'Safe work method statement (SWMS)', and 'Safety data sheet' in Appendix B.
  • Updates to reflect sites licenced or exempted by the EPA in Appendix G.

Additional guidance in Appendix H on an employer's duty to:

  • ensure that PPE is suitable for the asbestos related activity being carried out
  • not remove contaminated PPE from the work area unless it is decontaminated or contained before removal
  • disposed of contaminated PPE as asbestos waste or provide for laundering
  • provide appropriate RPE that is correctly fitted

Additional guidance in Appendix H recommending against:

  • clothing made from wool or other materials that trap fibrous dusts
  • the laundering of asbestos-contaminated PPE

New breakout box in Appendix H on:

  • disposal type 5 category 3 coveralls
  • headwear
  • employer duties in relation to the storage of contaminated personal protective clothing for the purposes of disposal or laundering

A recommendation in Appendix H that non-disposable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) be used where a half-face respirator has been determined as providing the required level of respiratory protection.

An updated illustration in Appendix H of a powered, air-purifying, ventilated helmet respirator.

Examples in Appendix I revised for situations in which atmospheric monitoring may be needed.

Additional guidance in:

  • Appendix J on an employer's duty to ensure that an asbestos-related activity is carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres
  • Appendix K on an employer's duty to ensure that an asbestos-related activity is carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres
  • Appendix L on an employer's duty to ensure that an asbestos-related activity is carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres
  • Appendix M on an employer's duty to ensure that an asbestos-related activity is carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres
  • Appendix N on the prohibition to re-use asbestos
  • Appendix N on an employer's duty to ensure that an asbestos-related activity is carried out in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres

Guidance on the re-manufacture of components and 'Brake shoe remanufacturing section' removed from Appendix O

Additional item to capture the name of an independent contractors engaged by the asbestos removal licence holder to perform asbestos removal work in Appendix Q.

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • Appendix A – The compliance framework
  • Appendix B – Definitions
  • Appendix C – Taking asbestos samples
  • Appendix D – Example of an asbestos register
  • Appendix E – Asbestos register duties
  • Appendix F – Signs and labels
  • Appendix G – Asbestos-related activities
  • Appendix H – Selection and use of personal protective equipment and clothing for asbestos-related activities
  • Appendix I – Exposure standard and atmospheric monitoring
  • Appendix J – Sealing, painting, coating and cleaning of asbestos cement products
  • Appendix K – Drilling of asbestos-containing materials
  • Appendix L – Cleaning of leaf litter from asbestos cement roof gutters
  • Appendix M – Replacing cabling in asbestos cement conduits or boxes
  • Appendix N – Working on electrical mounting boards (switchboards) containing asbestos
  • Appendix O – Working with asbestos friction materials
  • Appendix P – Examples of asbestos-containing materials
  • Appendix Q – Information required to be included in an asbestos control plan
  • Appendix R – Documents adopted by this compliance code
  • Appendix S – Documents associated with this compliance code
  • Appendix A – The compliance framework
  • Appendix B – Definitions
  • Appendix C – Taking asbestos samples
  • Appendix D – Example of an asbestos register
  • Appendix E – Asbestos register duties
  • Appendix F – Signs and labels
  • Appendix G – Asbestos-related activities
  • Appendix H – Selection and use of personal protective equipment and clothing for asbestos-related activities
  • Appendix I – Exposure standard and atmospheric monitoring
  • Appendix J – Sealing asbestos cement sheeting
  • Appendix K – Drilling of asbestos-containing material
  • Appendix L – Cleaning debris from asbestos cement roof gutters
  • Appendix M – Replacing cabling in asbestos cement conduits or boxes
  • Appendix N – Working on electrical mounting boards (switchboards) containing asbestos
  • Appendix O – Working with asbestos friction materials and high-temperature gaskets
  • Appendix P – Examples of asbestos-containing materials
  • Appendix Q – Information required to be included in an asbestos control plan
  • Appendix R – Documents associated with this compliance code

Further information

Further information about the Managing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.