Asbestos removal licensing - frequently asked questions

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This page contains frequently asked questions relating to asbestos removal and licensing.


What are the VET courses required for asbestos removal?

Course Class A Class B
VET Course Supervise Asbestos Removal (current unit CPCCDE4008) Required Required
VET Course Remove Friable Asbestos (current unit CPCCDE3015) Required  
VET Course Remove Non-Friable Asbestos (current unit CPCCDE3014)   Required


My workers have completed the VET courses. Does this satisfy my requirements under WHS to provide training to my workers?

No. Training is broader than simply the asbestos training and information provided in the VET training courses. Additional training such as on the job training and supervision will be required for all workers specific to your workplace, your requirements, your safe systems of work and procedures. You must have a system in place to train your workers across all of the hazards and procedures that you need depending on the tasks that are expected to be performed, as well as asbestos related tasks. For example, if your workers will work at heights, they will require training in relation to this hazard including, any equipment they may need to use.

Can a worker who has only completed Remove Friable Asbestos training remove non-friable asbestos?

Yes. The specified VET course for Class A asbestos removal work is the VET course – Remove Friable Asbestos (current unit CPCCDE3015). The pre-requisite for this course is the VET course – Remove Non-Friable Asbestos (current unit CPCCDE3014).

If a worker has completed the prescribed training (Remove Friable Asbestos), including the pre-requisite, the worker is also permitted to carry out non-friable asbestos removal work. In addition to the general duty to provide training, the licensed asbestos removalist must also provide appropriate training to the worker carrying out licensed asbestos removal work at a workplace to ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the asbestos removal control plan for the workplace.

Must all workers (including the supervisor) undertake the training?

Yes. Under the Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022 (WHS Regulations) there is a transition period of 24 months from 31 March 2022. Workers who have received appropriate training under the requirements of the now repealed Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 will continue to be able to conduct asbestos removal work during this 24 month grace period, however WorkSafe encourages all asbestos removalists to attend the WHS training as soon as possible as courses are likely to be full towards the end of the transition period.

With regard to the VET courses, as VET qualifications are updated every 3 years, will older iterations be accepted?

Asbestos removal licences are issued based on the ‘specified VET course’ current at the time of making an application.

When courses are updated, as long as the course title remains equivalent, the WHS Regulations authorise Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) to continue issuing asbestos removal licences irrespective of whether the underlying course code changes.

Are the previous versions of the nationally accredited VET courses still accepted or do we need to redo the course?

CPCCDE3014 is the current unit for Remove Non-Friable Asbestos, however if you have completed CPCCDE3014A, or an equivalent nationally accredited VET course this will be accepted.

CPCCDE3015 is the current unit for Remove Friable Asbestos, however if you have completed CPCCDE3015A,  or an equivalent nationally accredited VET course this will be accepted.

CPCCDE4008 is the current unit for Supervise Asbestos Removal, however if you have completed CPCCBC4051A,  or an equivalent nationally accredited VET course this will be accepted.


Is notification to neighbours required before asbestos removal occurs? If so, is this to be communicated via a letter or verbally?

Under the WHS Regulations, if the workplace is a residential premises, the licensed asbestos removalist must inform the occupier, the owner and anyone occupying premises in the immediate vicinity of the workplace before the work is carried out. The method of notification is not specified in the WHS legislation. Most asbestos licence holders do a letter drop, which includes a contact number, if there are any concerns.

For general workplaces, the person with management or control of the workplace must be informed that licensed asbestos removal work is to be carried out and when the work is to commence.

If I come across some unexpected buried asbestos containing material (ACM) do I have to submit another notification?

No. A second notification is not required.

What do I do if asbestos needs to be removed in an emergency situation?

If asbestos must be removed immediately due to an emergency, the regulator (WorkSafe) must be contacted immediately by telephone on 1300 307 877 (during business hours or the next business day if outside of business hours) and the online notification form is to be submitted within 24 hours.

Do I need to submit another notification if I find more asbestos during demolition?

No. Your original notification for asbestos removal will suffice, unless you originally notified non-friable asbestos containing material and have now identified friable asbestos containing material. However, when you come across this situation you must stop the demolition and remove the asbestos.

Does the 5 day notification period include the weekend and public holidays?

The Interpretation Act states that if the notice day falls on an excluded day (weekend or public holiday) the excluded rule moves the notification period to the following day as set out in the table below:

Day of asbestos removal Latest notice day to regulator is the previous… If notice day is a public holiday or weekend latest notice day to the Regulator is the previous…
Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Thursday Friday Monday
Friday Monday Tuesday
Saturday Monday Tuesday
Sunday Monday Tuesday


If a notification is submitted and the supervisor or competent persons need to change due to illness, does anther notification need to be submitted?

No. Email to notify WorkSafe of the change.

High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered H-Class industrial vacuum cleaner

Should a HEPA vacuum cleaner be used for clean up after asbestos removal?

Yes, wherever reasonably practicable, a HEPA filtered H-Class industrial vacuum cleaner should be used. Vacuum cleaners used for asbestos should comply with the Class H requirements in AS/NZS 60335.2.69 Particular requirements for wet and dry vacuum cleaners, including power brush, for industrial and commercial use or its international equivalents (e.g. International Standard IEC 60335-2-69). All equipment used for the removal of asbestos should be inspected before the commencement of the asbestos removal work, after any repairs and at least once every seven days when it is continually being used. A register with the details of these inspections, the state of the equipment and any repair details should be maintained. Asbestos vacuum cleaners can only be used for collecting small pieces of asbestos dust and debris. Larger pieces should be picked up and placed in suitable waste containers and should never be broken into smaller sizes for vacuuming.

At the completion of the asbestos removal work, the tools and equipment must be decontaminated, placed in sealed, labelled containers before being transferred to the next asbestos removal job.

Can I hire a HEPA vacuum cleaner?

Whenever possible, you should not hire asbestos vacuum cleaners as they can be difficult to fully decontaminate. Asbestos vacuum cleaners should be hired only from organisations that provide vacuum cleaners specifically for work involving asbestos and if the asbestos vacuum cleaner has been previously decontaminated. If hired, the asbestos vacuum cleaner should be fully decontaminated before it is returned.

Alternatively, the hire organisation may undertake the decontamination and maintenance of the filters and bags of the asbestos vacuum cleaner itself. In these cases, the asbestos vacuum cleaner should be hired out if the hire organisation has:

  • placed it in a sealed storage container
  • provided instructions stating that it may be removed from the container only when it is inside the asbestos removal work area
  • provided instructions that users must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when using the vacuum cleaner.

Organisations that hire out asbestos HEPA vacuum cleaners should ensure all their asbestos vacuum cleaners are decontaminated, maintained in good working order and the hirers are competent in their safe use. It is recommended that asbestos vacuum cleaners are only hired out to asbestos removal supervisors or licence holders.

Do industrial HEPA vacuum cleaners need to have annual dispersed oil particulate (DOP) testing?

All equipment used for asbestos removal must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, manufacturers of HEPA filtered H-Class industrial vacuum cleaners recommend the appliance’s dust filtration efficiency should be tested at least annually. The dispersed oil particulate (DOP) testing ensures the HEPA filter and the seals inside the appliance are containing asbestos dust at 99.995 per cent efficiency. DOP testing may not be carried out if there is evidence of damage to the vacuum cleaner. Additionally, some HEPA vacuum cleaners using self-ventilating motors (bypass air) may be precluded from DOP testing or servicing because of contamination of asbestos dust outside the HEPA protected zones of the HEPA vacuum cleaner.


Can a bag of waste (single wrapped) be placed in a lined bin to meet the requirements for double wrapping?

Yes. The Code of practice: How to safely remove asbestos states that loose asbestos waste should be placed in labelled asbestos waste bags or wrapped in heavy duty polyethylene sheeting (minimum 200 µm thickness). It should then be placed into drums, bins, skips or trays lined with heavy duty polyethylene sheeting (minimum 200 µm thickness).

Is a licence needed for removing asbestos contaminated soil?

Yes, in most cases. Soil contamination is a specialised field. A Class A licence holder is required for situations where the soil is contaminated with friable asbestos or a mixture of friable and non-friable asbestos. For contamination of a total area of more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos, a Class A or Class B licence holder can be used. For minor contamination of 10 square metres or less of non-friable asbestos, a competent person may be used.

For further information about removing asbestos contaminated soil, see the Department’s information sheet on asbestos contaminated soils.

Do I have to use polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/tinted PVA glue to spray asbestos containing material (ACM) before removal?

The release of asbestos fibers must be controlled during asbestos removal work. Where wet methods cannot be used, for example for roof removal where wetting may create other hazards, PVA must be used where practicable, unless the asbestos material is already painted or coated.

Tinted PVA should be used where practicable, to visually ensure adequate coverage.

Do I have to conduct a pre-demolition/pre-refurbishment survey to identify asbestos containing material (ACM) before work is started?

Yes. WHS Regulation 451 requires that the presence of asbestos is determined before demolition and refurbishment. This work must be conducted by a competent person. Asbestos must be presumed to be present if part of the structure is inaccessible and is likely to be disturbed. This means that the location of the ACM is identified so that it can be removed prior to the works commencing. In the case of demolition and other major works, it is practicable to conduct an intrusive survey (e.g. knocking into walls, knocking into chimney stacks, pulling up carpet/flooring).

What does the assumed (previously referred to as presumptive) rule mean?

The assumed rule means that materials that are assumed to contain asbestos must be treated as if they are asbestos unless they are tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory and found not to contain asbestos.

Can double wrapped asbestos be left on site while demolition occurs until an excavator is there to lift onto trucks, or other arrangements to be made for its transport?

WHS Regulation 472 requires asbestos waste to be contained and labelled in accordance with Schedule 9 clause 8 (label contains the words ‘Asbestos – May Cause Cancer’ and the hazard pictogram) and disposed of as soon as practicable at a site authorised to accept asbestos waste. It is preferable that the asbestos is removed on the same day or the following day because the longer it stays there the more likely it is that there could be damage or disturbance to the waste, which may present a hazard. If the asbestos waste cannot be removed immediately, it must be securely stored on the site so that it cannot be disturbed or damaged.

In terms of having systems set up for asbestos removal, when is it considered that asbestos removal work starts?

Asbestos removal starts when you set up the asbestos removal zone, put up your barriers and signage, and set up your clean and dirty zones and your decontamination area. This is before you start removing the asbestos containing material (ACM).

What do I do if my workers do not want to be clean shaven but need to use fitted respirators?

As the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) you have the responsibility to ensure your workers have the relevant training and information in relation to the asbestos hazard and the requirement to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the hazard. Your workers must be given information about the health risks and health effects associated with exposure to asbestos and must be supervised when conducting their work.

Supervision and management includes holding asbestos removal workers responsible for not being clean shaven, which should be managed in the same way as other mandatory work requirements.

Workers also have a duty of care to ensure they follow instructions and safe systems of work. Should workers not be clean shaven while conducting asbestos removal, it is likely that both the PCBU and the worker are in breach of work health and safety requirements.

Independent competent person (ICP) and licenced asbestos assessors (LAA)

What is an ICP?

An independent competent person (ICP) is an individual who has acquired through training or experience the knowledge and skills of relevant asbestos removal industry practice and holds either:

  • Certification in relation to the specified VET course for asbestos assessors – Conduct air monitoring and clearance inspections for asbestos removal work (current unit CPCCDE5001) or
  • a relevant tertiary qualification, for example in occupational hygiene, science, building construction or environmental health.

What is an LAA?

A licensed asbestos assessor (LAA) is an independent competent person who is licensed with WorkSafe or a similar regulator. An LAA is authorised to conduct air monitoring and clearances for Class A asbestos removal work.

What does independent mean?

In regards to clearance inspections and air monitoring for asbestos removal work, independence means the ICP or the LAA is not involved in the removal of the asbestos and is not involved with the business or undertaking involved in the removal of the asbestos.

What is the difference between an ICP and a LAA?

A licensed asbestos assessor (LAA) is an independent competent person (ICP) who holds a license with WorkSafe or a similar regulator. This authorises the LAA to conduct clearances and air monitoring for Class A (friable) asbestos removal work. An ICP who is not licensed with WorkSafe or a similar regulator can only conduct clearances for Class B (non-friable) asbestos removal work.

Can an ICP be an asbestos removal licence holder?

Yes, as long as the independent competent person (ICP) providing a clearance is not involved in the removal of the asbestos or with the business or undertaking involved in the removal of the asbestos and they meet the requirements to be an ICP.

Can an asbestos contractor engage an LAA on behalf of the client?

Only for residential premises. See WHS Regulation 473 for further information.

Can the ICP or LAA engage an asbestos removal contractor or is this a conflict of interest?

The intention of the WHS Regulations is for the removalist and the person doing the clearance to be independent. If the ICP or LAA engages the asbestos removal company, it is recommended that they give the client a choice of removalists. The ICP/LAA must be independent of the removalist.

Can a removalist use the same LAA/ICP for all clearances?

This is unlikely to be practicable given that for all non-residential asbestos removal work, the client appoints the LAA/ICP. Whilst it is not prohibited, this would need to be managed to ensure independence between the removalist and the ICP/LAA.

Is there a register of ICPs, or how do I locate one?

DMIRS does not maintain a register of ICPs. An online search for ‘occupational hygienists’ or ‘asbestos assessor’ is recommended. WorkSafe hosts a list of licensed asbestos assessors (LAA) provided as a customer service, based on contact information provided by the licence holders. A LAA is a ICP that has been licensed by a WHS Regulator to perform clearances for Class A asbestos removal work. As LAA’s  are deemed a ICP they can also conduct clearances for Class B asbestos removal work. 

When will DMIRS accept applications to be an LAA?

Refer to the WHS transition arrangements webpage for details of when the LAA requirements take effect.

To stay informed about these updates, consider subscribing to WorkSafe newsletters.

Can the asbestos assessor licence be obtained by either a business or an individual?

No. WHS Regulation 491(2) prescribes that only an ‘individual’ who holds the qualifications set out in WHS Regulation 495 may apply for an asbestos assessor licence. As a result of the reference to an individual, an asbestos assessor licence cannot be issued to a business.

Clearances and air monitoring

When is control air monitoring required?

Control air monitoring to assess the effectiveness of controls must be conducted immediately before and during Class A asbestos removal work.

If an enclosure is used for Class A asbestos removal work, control air monitoring must be carried out outside of the enclosure prior to, during and after the removal as well as within the enclosure before it can be dismantled.

The decision to conduct control air monitoring for Class B asbestos removal work is a risk based decision, i.e. it is not mandatory but is considered good practice, particularly for higher risk work or where there are people in close vicinity to the removal.

When is a clearance required?

A clearance is required for all licensed Class A and Class B asbestos removal work.

Are clearances different for Class A and Class B asbestos removal work?

Yes. For Class B asbestos removal work the minimum required is a thorough visual inspection. Clearance air monitoring may be appropriate for Class B asbestos removal work based on risk, for example where there are close neighbours or for large complex jobs. Clearances conducted for Class B asbestos removal work must be conducted by an independent competent person (ICP) or a licensed asbestos assessor (LAA).

For Class A asbestos removal work, clearances must include a thorough visual inspection as well as clearance air monitoring in the removal area, including within and outside of the enclosure. For Class A asbestos removal work, clearances must be conducted by a Licenced Asbestos Assessor.

For both Class A and Class B asbestos removal work, a clearance certificate is required prior to the area being reoccupied.

When is a clearance certificate required?

A clearance certificate is required for all Class A and Class B asbestos removal work prior to the area being reoccupied.

How do I notify in the case of an emergency?

If asbestos must be removed immediately due to an emergency, the regulator (WorkSafe) must be contacted immediately by telephone (during business hours or the next business day if outside of business hours) and the online notification form must be submitted within 24 hours. This is explained in regulation 466.

An emergency situation is defined in the regulation under regulation 454 and 455 as a structure or plant structurally unsound or the collapse of the structure or plant is imminent.

Emergency work still requires a clearance before re-occupation. 

It is difficult to get an independent person for clearances in some regional areas. Does all Class B asbestos removal work need an independent competent person to complete the clearance inspection?

The regulator has granted a class exemption which is only applicable in specific circumstances. It is important to read Exemption 26 of 2022 closely as it contains a number of conditions which must be followed as well as ensuring that this exemption applies to you.  This exemption is valid until 30 March 2024.

Who decides when air monitoring is needed?

Air monitoring must be conducted for Class A asbestos removal work. For Class B asbestos removal work a competent person evaluates whether air monitoring is required based on a risk assessment.

Regulatory enforcement

How will DMIRS hold licence holders from other states that work in WA accountable when they may not have an office in WA?

Under WHS legislation there is a requirement to notify WorkSafe WA of all licensed asbestos removal work independent of where you hold your licence. If a licence holder is working in this state then they have to abide by the laws in this state and WorkSafe will apply the same compliance measures as for WA licence holders.

Health monitoring

Do all new asbestos removal workers need to undertake a medical before commencing work? Does this apply to current workers?

WHS Regulation 435 provides that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must provide health monitoring to a worker working for them if the worker:

  • carries out licensed asbestos removal work at a workplace and is at risk of exposure to asbestos when carrying out the asbestos removal work; or
  • carries out other ongoing asbestos removal work or asbestos related work and is at risk of exposure to asbestos when carrying out the asbestos removal work.

This means that a risk assessment is required. Generally all workers conducting friable asbestos removal will require health monitoring, as will workers who conduct full time and ongoing Class B asbestos removal work.

Where health monitoring is required, baseline (initial) health monitoring should be conducted on commencement. Current employees should be booked for health monitoring as soon as practicable. Baseline (initial) health monitoring may not require a chest X-ray – the registered medical practitioner will make this decision based on worker specific risk factors.

What is health monitoring and do Class B licence holders require health monitoring?

Health monitoring (previously called health surveillance) refers to the health monitoring of employees where there is a risk to health from exposure to hazardous substances, such as asbestos.

Class B removalists will require health monitoring on a risk basis, taking into account the type of asbestos, the frequency and duration of asbestos removal work, and the level of controls.

For Class B licence holders, as this concept is new, WorkSafe will take an educational approach initially, however where risks are significant, improvement notices to commence health monitoring may be issued.

Health monitoring is not the same as a pre-employment medical. It is a medical assessment specifically focused on asbestos related risks.

Health monitoring must be conducted by a registered medical practitioner (RMP). A RMP is a medical doctor that has the relevant training, experience and knowledge to conduct health monitoring of a worker in regards to exposure to a hazardous substances. Health monitoring helps to identify exposures to a hazardous substance before the person’s health is significantly affected. This can prevent adverse health effects and serious illness from the exposure.

The frequency of health monitoring and the types of tests undertaken will be determined by the RMP and will be based on factors such as the likelihood of exposure, the frequency of exposure, the duration of asbestos removal work, the controls being used, and worker related risk factors.

For more information on health monitoring, see the Department’s WHS website.

Respiratory protective equipment and fit testing

What is fit testing and where can I access this?

Fit testing is a test conducted to ensure that a fitted respirator fits the worker correctly and provides the designated level of protection. Fit testing measures the effectiveness of the seal between the respirator and the wearer’s face and is required for all disposable and reusable respirators that are designed to seal against the face. Fit testing must be carried out by a competent person (which can include a manufacturer, supplier or consultant). Accredited fit testers are available on the RESP-FIT website.

There are two types of fit testing conducted:

  • Qualitative – a pass/fail test that relies on the wearer’s ability to taste or smell a test agent
  • Quantitative – uses specialised equipment to measure how much air leaks into the respirator. This type of test can be used on all types of respirators and as such is the most common type of testing.

As this may be considered a new requirement for Class B licence holders, WorkSafe will take an educational approach on this issue until March 2023. However, the requirement to be clean shaven to wear fitted respirators is not new and WorkSafe will continue to take enforcement action when breaches are identified.

Nominated supervisors

Does a supervisor need to be registered? Is this the same process as the licence nominee or a different process?

The Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022 (WHS Regulations) prescribe that an application for an asbestos removal licence must include the nomination of at least one supervisor (WHS Regulation 498). The supervisor(s) must be at least 18 years of age and be able to provide evidence of being a competent person through the appropriate certification and experience.

Applicants must complete the statement of experience (SOE) within the application form(s) to demonstrate that the nominated supervisor meets the criteria. The SOE forms a critical part of the application and must be completed in accordance with the regulator’s requirements. Each column in the SOE must be completed, with as much detail as possible to ensure the full scope of experience is illustrated.

Under WHS Regulation 507, the regulator must be informed of any changes regarding a nominated supervisor by the licence holder (for example, removing a nominated supervisor from the licence).

For more information on nominated supervisors, see the Department’s applicant guide.


If I hold a Class A license in NSW but not in WA, can I conduct Class A asbestos removal work in WA?

The holder of a current, equivalent licence issued under a corresponding WHS law can work in Western Australian without the need for a separate licence to be issued in this State. This includes the holder of a Class A asbestos removal licence issued in NSW.

If you have an equivalent licence issued in another State or Territory, you are precluded from applying for a licence in Western Australia. Applicants for a Western Australian licence:

  • cannot hold an equivalent licence under a corresponding WHS law; and
  • must reside in the state or territory where the application is made.

Are Class A licenses across Australia recognised in WA? Could someone from Sydney with an A Class licence move to WA and do Class A asbestos removal work?

Yes. There is now recognition of equivalent asbestos removal licences, meaning you can work in all states and territories which have adopted the WHS laws and hold the appropriate asbestos licence issued by any of those states and territories.

Class A - Certified safety management systems

Do Class A asbestos removal licence holders need to have a certified safety management system (CSMS) in place?

The Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022 require Class A asbestos removal licence holders to have a CSMS. Class A licence holders that do not have a CSMS should be actively working towards implementing one and have one in place no later than 31 May 2024.

Evidence of a CSMS will be required at the time of a licence application or a licence renewal. Certification of a safety management system can be provided to DMIRS Licensing in one of three ways:

  • A certificate of certification of the applicants safety management system (SMS) which can be validated by searching the JAS-ANZ register
  • A certificate of certification of the applicants SMS which has been issued by an accredited auditor who is listed on the Exemplar Global directory
  • Written confirmation from a person or organisation who is a qualified SMS auditor, that the applicants SMS meets the required standard and which is accompanied by satisfactory evidence of the auditor’s qualifications to assess the system against the relevant standard.

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