Finding and selecting an asbestos licence holder

Before selecting a licenced asbestos removalist, you may wish to confirm that the material to be removed contains asbestos.  Only a competent person who has appropriate training, knowledge and experience can identify asbestos containing material (ACM) and determine if the ACM is friable or non-friable. This person should also be familiar with construction and building methods to determine where asbestos is likely to be. If you are not sure if a material contains asbestos you can either assume it does, for example based on its age and appearance, or get it tested. Testing can be done by a NATA accredited laboratory and these are listed on the NATA website - under Test Type Search, enter Asbestos with WA as the state to find WA facilities. A procedure for sampling suspected ACM is available in Appendix A of the Code of Practice – How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace.

Asbestos removal and asbestos identification are different skills; the training for asbestos removal does not specifically cover asbestos identification. Some licensed asbestos removalists may also have asbestos identification training, but not all of them do.  WorkSafe recommends you ask the contractor whether they have the necessary competency to identify ACM (for example, what training and experience they have had specifically in relation to identification of ACM).

Selecting a licenced asbestos removalist

First consider whether the ACM is friable (crumbles under hand pressure – for example insulation or lagging) or non-friable (eg asbestos cement sheeting). A restricted asbestos removalist is only licenced to remove non-friable ACM whereas an unrestricted asbestos removalist is licenced to remove any form of asbestos. When selecting a licensed removalist you should consider their experience and training, any specific expertise and references from their previous work. It also worth getting several detailed written quotes.

Work area to be left clear of ACM

It is not mandatory in WA to have an independent consultant check that the area is visually clear of ACM after non-friable asbestos removal. However, it is good practice for the client to either use such a consultant, or to conduct a visual inspection with the removalist at the end of the job to ensure both agree that the area is visually clear of ACM. For friable asbestos removal, an independent clearance is required.’

There are two types of asbestos removal licence (unrestricted and restricted). Each licence is endorsed with a number of conditions that relate to the way asbestos removal work is carried out:

Unrestricted: An Unrestricted Asbestos Removal Licence allows the licence holder, or people employed by the licence holder , to remove all forms of asbestos (friable and non-friable). Friable asbestos means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder, or can be easily crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. Examples of friable asbestos include, but are not limited to, asbestos lagging, sprayed insulation, millboard, felt and woven asbestos matting; and

Restricted: A Restricted Asbestos Removal Licence allows the licence holder, or people employed by the licence holder, to remove amounts exceeding 10 square metres of bonded (non-friable) asbestos.  Bonded asbestos contains material such as cement or rubber, which stabilises the product and gives it a non-friable structure. Common examples are asbestos cement sheets and pitch-based electrical switchboards.  

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