The Removing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, 2018 was published on 11 October 2018. It replaces the Removing 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:

  • the removal of guidance on duty holders as it is covered in the 'application' section of the new code
  • an updated scope for consistency with other compliance codes
  • a reference to health and safety representatives (HSRs)

New breakout boxes 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
  • purpose
  • 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
  • guidance 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:

  • updated formatting and language for consistency across compliance codes.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • regulatory prohibitions
  • prohibitions

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 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

The removal of guidance on decontaminating power tools to reduce duplication of the 'Tools and equipment' section.

Additional guidance on employer or self-employer person's duty to not rely on RPE to ensure that one half the exposure standard is not exceeded.

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 removal work

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • the removal of the breakout box on 'fixed or installed ACM'

Additional guidance:

  • outlining duties under Division 5 that do not apply where asbestos removal work is undertaken at a domestic premises
  • on persons to which such duties do not apply
  • on determining the total amount of time an employer or self-employed person performs asbestos removal work

New breakout boxes outlining the definitions of 'Non-friable', 'Asbestos-contaminated dust (ACD)' and providing guidance on reasonable grounds for assuming asbestos to be present

New guidance about:

  • independent persons determining that the removal of ACD is limited asbestos removal work
  • the duties of employers and self-employed persons performing limited asbestos removal work
  • the duties of asbestos removal licence holders performing Class A or Class B asbestos removal work
  • the duties that apply to a Class A asbestos removal licence holders who engages an independent contractor to perform asbestos removal work

Additional examples of:

  • limited asbestos removal work involving the removal non-friable ACM, ACD, and asbestos-contaminated soil
  • Class A asbestos removal work involving the removal of asbestos-contaminated soil and fire damaged ACM

Reference to 'independent contractors' to align with OHS Regulations 2017

New note outlining that a person who holds a Class B asbestos removal licence or an employee of a person who holds a Class B asbestos removal licence is not permitted to perform Class A asbestos removal work.

New section outlining the circumstances in which an independent contractor can be engaged by a Class A asbestos removal licence holder and the asbestos removal work that they are permitted to perform in such circumstances.

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • what is asbestos removal work?
  • asbestos removal and workplaces
  • duties of employers and self-employed persons at domestic premises
  • asbestos removal work that does not require a licence
  • asbestos removal work that requires a licence
  • what is asbestos removal work?
  • asbestos removal at workplaces
  • asbestos removal at domestic premises
  • limited asbestos removal work
  • class A or Class B asbestos removal work
  • who can perform Class A or Class B asbestos removal work?
  • independent contractors

General requirements for all asbestos removal work

What has changed

The key changes include:

New guidance about:

  • instances where the asbestos register is inadequate
  • the duty of an employer or self-employed person who is commissioned to perform work to inform the person who commissioned the work about proposed limited asbestos removal work
  • the duty of an employer who has been informed about the proposed asbestos removal work to inform their employees in the immediate and adjacent areas to where the work will take place
  • exclusion to prohibition on the use of certain tools and instruments where airborne asbestos fibre levels are not in excess of 0.01 f/ml while the tool or instrument is in use
  • the removal of tools and equipment that cannot be decontaminated from the asbestos removal area
  • the duties of asbestos removal licence holders, employers and self-employed persons to:
  • ensure that asbestos removal work is performed in a manner that eliminates the release of airborne asbestos fibres and prevents the contamination of adjacent areas
  • enclose the area where Class A asbestos removal work is performed
  • use a wet method when performing Class A asbestos removal work
  • the need to assess asbestos removal work in each instance to determine suitable decontamination procedures
  • an asbestos removal licence holder’s duty to provide training in the proper use of decontamination facilities
  • the duty to decontaminate and contain personal protective clothing or RPE that is likely to be contaminated with asbestos before removal from the asbestos removal area
  • if vinyl floor covering with a friable backing is identified, the asbestos removal work must be performed by a Class A asbestos removal licence holder and more extensive decontamination procedures are required
  • the independent sealing of the inner bag or lining of asbestos waste
  • eliminating or reducing the exposure of persons at the workplace to airborne asbestos fibres when transporting asbestos waste through a workplace
  • the purpose of medical examinations
  • the duty of employers to provide a copy of the results of a medical examination report or a summary in certain circumstances

New breakout boxes:

  • on the duty to assume that asbestos is present in certain circumstances

Providing guidance about:

  • content of training
  • content of refresher training
  • method for delivering refresher training
  • persons who are appropriate to deliver training
    • on the disposal of type 5 category 3 coveralls
    • outlining duties under the OHS Act to ensure that plant is safe and without risks to health
    • outlining examples of classification systems under equivalent standards for Dust Class H vacuum cleaner filters
    • outlining the definition of 'wet method'
    • providing guidance on decontamination facilities for Class A asbestos removal work
    • providing guidance and examples of appropriate decontamination facilities for Class B asbestos removal work
    • outlining the definition of 'asbestos waste'
    • HSR's access to information that an employer has relating to the health and safety of the members of a DWG

Additional guidance about:

  • duties related to demolition and refurbishment work
  • employer's and self-employed person's duties in relation to training
  • employers' and asbestos removal licence holders' duties to provide appropriate personal protective clothing, and ensuring that it is appropriately fitted
  • the need to provide PPE to individuals for their exclusive use

Employers' and asbestos removal licence holders' duties to:

  • provide coveralls that are suitable for the asbestos removal work being performed
  • not to remove contaminated personal protective clothing from the asbestos removal area
  • provide gloves that are suitable for the asbestos removal work being performed
  • not to remove contaminated gloves from the asbestos removal area
  • the storage of contaminated personal protective clothing for the purposes of disposal or laundering
  • provide appropriate RPE that is correctly fitted and suitable for the asbestos removal work being performed
  • not remove RPE that is likely to be contaminated with asbestos from the asbestos removal area
  • dispose of RPE as asbestos waste

Factors to be considered when evaluating heat stress.

Considerations when determining the suitability of RPE and the performance of fit tests.

Persons who need to provide training on the safe use of RPE.

The type and placement of barricades.

Determining the distance between barriers and the asbestos removal area.

Asbestos removal licence holder's duty to ensure that only certain persons are permitted to have access to the asbestos removal area.

Requesting written confirmation from suppliers that Dust Class H vacuum cleaners conform with the relevant standards.

Organisations that supply Dust Class H vacuum cleaners need to ensure that vacuum cleaners, filters and bags are maintained in good working order and continue to meet the relevant standards.

Controlling risks associated with the release of airborne asbestos fibres as part of using the dry removal method.

Saturation and wet injection methods.

An asbestos removal licence holder's duty to provide suitable facilities for personal decontamination.

Aa new section about:

  • headwear
  • methods of removing ACD

The removal of guidance about:

  • enclosures to reduce duplication of 'General methods for Class A asbestos removal work' section
  • workplace amenities as these are distinct from decontamination facilities and must not be used for personal decontamination

Additional factors in relation to determining the suitability of personal decontamination facilities.

Additional requirements on the transport and disposal of asbestos waste.

New examples:

  • on what is defined to be an 'ongoing asbestos-related activity'
  • of decontamination procedures where an emergency occurs

An update in the 'informing people in immediate and adjacent areas' section to align with OHS Regulations, notably duties now extend to 'other persons' occupying premises in the immediate and adjacent areas

'Safe work method statements' section streamlined to reduce duplication of 'asbestos control plans and safe work method statements' section

Guidance about:

  • duty to notify WorkSafe of the registered medical practitioner's details removed
  • first aid and fire extinguishers removed
  • signs and barricades consolidated to reduce duplication
  • 'asbestos registers' and 'employer asbestos registers' dealt with separately to improve clarity
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • general requirements for all asbestos removal
  • planning
  • informing people in immediate and adjacent areas
  • asbestos register
  • safe work method statements
  • elimination of airborne asbestos fibres
  • training
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • coveralls
  • gloves
  • footwear
  • respirator protective equipment
  • signs and barricades
  • tools and equipment
  • wet and dry methods of removing ACM
  • decontamination facilities and methods
  • asbestos waste containment and disposal
  • medical examinations
  • emergency planning
  • summary of duties
  • general requirements for all asbestos removal work
  • planning
  • informing people in immediate and adjacent areas
  • asbestos register
  • safe work method statements
  • elimination of airborne asbestos fibres
  • information, instruction, training and supervision
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • coveralls
  • gloves
  • footwear
  • headwear
  • respirator protective equipment
  • signs and barricades
  • tools and equipment
  • methods of removing ACM
  • methods of removing ACD
  • decontamination facilities and methods
  • asbestos waste containment and disposal
  • medical examinations
  • emergency planning
  • summary of duties

Additional requirements for asbestos removal licence holders

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • a new section 'providing information to job applicants and independent contractors' on providing information to job applicants

Additional guidance about:

  • an asbestos removal licence holder's duty to provide a copy of the notification to the person who commissioned the asbestos removal work before commencing
  • the exemption from having regard to an asbestos register or employer's asbestos register where asbestos removal work will be performed at a domestic premise
  • an asbestos removal licence holder's notification duties to improve alignment with the OHS Regulations 2017
  • an asbestos removal licence holder's duty to provide suitable facilities for personal decontamination
  • recommending against the laundering of asbestos-contaminated personal protective clothing

From the list of items that must be included in a notification of asbestos removal work:

  • the name of the independent person that has determined that airborne asbestos fibre levels are likely to be less than one half of the asbestos exposure standard has been included
  • the date of any asbestos register or employer's asbestos register used to prepare the asbestos control plan has been removed

Additional column added to Table 4 to address the components of an asbestos removal control plant for the removal of ACD

New guidance about:

  • that WorkSafe may vary notification requirements for an asbestos removal licence holder by including a specific condition in the asbestos removal licence
  • on what is considered to be 'accessible' in relation to asbestos removal supervisors for Class B asbestos removal work
  • on requirements where an independent contractor is engaged by a person who holds a Class A asbestos removal licence to perform asbestos removal work involving the operation of an excavator
  • on an asbestos removal licence holder's duty to provide training in the proper use of decontamination facilities
  • an asbestos removal licence holder's duty to contain asbestos waste and dispose of it as soon as reasonably possible, or store for the purpose of disposal once removed from the asbestos removal area
  • on conducting paraoccupational air monitoring in the immediate vicinity of routes used for moving asbestos waste during waste transfer times

A new breakout box providing guidance about:

  • content of training
  • content of refresher training
  • methods for delivering refresher training
  • persons who are appropriate to deliver training for asbestos removal supervisors

Additional factors in relation to determining the suitability of personal decontamination facilities

New breakout boxes providing guidance:

  • on decontamination facilities for Class A asbestos removal work
  • and examples of appropriate decontamination facilities for Class B asbestos removal work

The removal of guidance on how to launder asbestos-contaminated clothing and incorporated into the Managing asbestos in workplaces compliance code (2018) (as it is an activity regulated under Division 8).

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • planning
  • the control plan
  • notification of asbestos removal work
  • documentation to be available on site
  • nominated supervisor
  • the decontamination unit
  • asbestos waste containment and disposal
  • laundering of contaminated clothing
  • planning for removal work from hot surfaces
  • providing information to job applicants and independent contractors
  • planning
  • asbestos control plan
  • notification of asbestos removal work
  • documentation to be available on site
  • nominated supervisor
  • the decontamination unit
  • asbestos waste containment and disposal
  • laundering of clothing contaminated with asbestos
  • planning for removal work from hot surfaces

Additional requirements for Class A asbestos removal work

What has changed

The key changes include additional guidance about:

  • duty to properly maintain enclosures
  • paraoccupational air monitoring in the immediate vicinity of buffer areas during Class A asbestos removal work
  • steps as part of rectifying enclosure defects before recommencing asbestos removal work
  • the need for devices, such as magnohelic gauges, to be used by persons with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience
  • the need to maintain negative pressure exhaust units in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations
  • recommending an enclosure or mini-enclosure be used instead of multiple glove bags
  • the duties of a Class A asbestos removal licence holder when using glove bags

A new breakout box providing guidance on essential filter element tests as a method of testing the efficiency of negative pressure exhaust unit HEPA filters.

Amendment to figure 11 to clarify that fresh outer/personal protective clothing needs to be put on in the clean change area for the journey to the designated personal decontamination area.

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • general methods for the removal of friable ACM
  • large-scale removal work
  • small-scale removal work
  • general methods for Class A asbestos removal work
  • large-scale removal work
  • small-scale removal work

Independent persons

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • substantial redrafting

Additional guidance about:

  • the definition of 'conflict of interest'
  • the relevant functions carried out by an independent person
  • requisite knowledge, skills and experience as part of carrying out such functions
  • an example of an independent person with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • clearance to re-occupy an asbestos removal area
  • independent persons

Asbestos-contaminated soil

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • a new section providing guidance on:
  • removal of asbestos-contaminated soil
  • who can perform the removal of asbestos-contaminated soil
  • clearance certificates for the removal of asbestos-contaminated soil and for the removal of visible ACM from asbestos-contaminated soil.
Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • n/a
  • asbestos-contaminated soil

Appendices

What has changed

The key changes include:

  • new definitions in Appendix B on 'Asbestos contaminated dust (ACD)', 'Atmospheric monitoring', 'Breathing zone', 'Class A asbestos removal work', 'Class B asbestos removal work', 'Environment Protection Authority', 'Limited asbestos removal work', and 'Safe work method statement (SWMS)'
  • the removal of the 'Chrysotile-containing material' definition

Additional guidance in Appendix E on:

  • asbestos removal licence holder's duty to seek an assessment by a registered medical practitioner if there is uncertainty as to the suitability of a person to wear certain types of RPE
  • the need for a person with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to determine the most appropriate RPE

An update of the illustration in Appendix E of a powered, air-purifying, ventilated helmet respirator.

The removal of 'Inspection of the condition of any installed friable asbestos, which appears in poor condition or has been disturbed' and 'Sampling material for the purpose of identifying asbestos' from 'Selection of appropriate respiratory equipment' table and included in the Managing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, 2018) (these activity are regulated under Division 8).

The update of content of pro forma to improve consistency and alignment with OHS Regulations 2017.

The reformatting of the asbestos removal log and removal of the check sheet

Guidance on who can analyse the atmospheric monitoring samples streamlined in Appendix H to reduce duplication of the 'Paraoccupational air monitoring requirements' section

Additional guidance in Appendix I on duties to:

  • prepare a control plan
  • ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed, instructed, and trained
  • arrange for asbestos paraoccupational air monitoring to be conducted before work commences and for the duration of the work

Disposing of rags used for personal decontamination as asbestos waste.

Additional guidance in Appendix J on:

  • duty to ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed instructed, and trained
  • cleaning the removal area prior to asbestos removal work
  • disposing of rags used for personal decontamination as asbestos waste

Redrafting of guidance on personal decontamination in Appendix J

Additional guidance in Appendix K:

  • that the removal of vinyl floor covering identified as having a friable backing must be performed by a Class A asbestos removal licence holder
  • on the duty to ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed instructed, and trained

Additional guidance in Appendix L on duty to ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed, instructed, and trained.

Additional guidance in Appendix M on the circumstances is which power tools are permitted to be used to remove residual material

Additional guidance in Appendix N on:

  • duties to prepare a control plan
  • a duty to ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed instructed, and trained

Additional guidance in Appendix O on duties to:

  • ensure that persons performing asbestos removal work are informed instructed, and trained
  • arrange for asbestos paraoccupational air monitoring to be conducted before work commences and for the duration of the work

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

Compliance code 2008 Compliance code 2018
  • Appendix A – The compliance framework
  • Appendix B – Definitions
  • Appendix C – Examples of asbestos-containing materials
  • Appendix D – Examples of asbestos warning signs
  • Appendix E – Guide to the selection of respiratory protection
  • Appendix F – Pro forma control plan
  • Appendix G – Example of an asbestos removal log and check sheet
  • Appendix H – Exposure standard and atmospheric monitoring
  • Appendix I – Removal of asbestos-contaminated dust that is greater than 'a minor contamination'
  • Appendix J – Removal of non-friable asbestos cement products
  • Appendix K – Removal of non-friable asbestos-containing floor tiles
  • Appendix L – Removal of asbestos-containing gaskets and rope seals
  • Appendix M – Removal of bituminous (malthoid) asbestos-containing material
  • Appendix N – Removal of a small section of pipe lagging using a glove bag
  • Appendix O – Removal of friable asbestos-containing fire retardant material from a large ceiling space
  • Appendix P – How to use rags to clean asbestos contamination from smooth surfaces and equipment
  • 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 – Examples of asbestos-containing materials
  • Appendix D – Examples of asbestos warning signs
  • Appendix E – Guide to the selection of respiratory protective equipment
  • Appendix F – Pro forma control plans
  • Appendix G – Example of an asbestos removal log and check sheet
  • Appendix H – Exposure standard and atmospheric monitoring
  • Appendix I – Class A asbestos removal work involving the removal of asbestos-contaminated dust
  • Appendix J – Removal of non-friable asbestos cement products
  • Appendix K – Removal of non-friable asbestos-containing floor tiles
  • Appendix L – Removal of asbestos-containing gaskets and rope seals
  • Appendix M – Removal of bituminous (malthoid) asbestos-containing material
  • Appendix N – Removal of a small section of pipe lagging using a glove bag
  • Appendix O – Removal of friable asbestos-containing fire retardant material from a large ceiling space
  • Appendix P – How to use rags to clean asbestos contamination from smooth surfaces and equipment
  • 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 Removing asbestos in workplaces compliance code, contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.