Key roles and responsibilities for work involving asbestos, including conduct and general duties, management of asbestos risks, and health monitoring, training and use of equipment.

Conduct and general duties



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Duty relating to exposure to airborne asbestos at workplace

The PCBU that manages or controls a workplace must make sure that exposure of a person at the workplace to airborne asbestos is removed as far as reasonably practical. If this is not practical, then exposure must be minimised as much as possible.

The PCBU must also make sure that the airborne contamination standard for asbestos is not exceeded at the workplace.

However, apart from minimising exposure as far as possible, the above does not apply to an asbestos removal area when it is enclosed to prevent the release of respirable asbestos fibres and negative pressure is used.

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Management of asbestos risks



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Duty to ensure asbestos identified at workplace

The PCBU that manages or controls a workplace and knows, or should know, that there is a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres in the workplace must make sure, as far as possible, that all asbestos or asbestos-containing material (ACM) that may cause a risk at the workplace is identified. 

This does not apply:

  • if the PCBU assumes or has reasonable grounds to believe that asbestos or ACM is either present or not present
  • in relation to soil at the workplace unless there is reasonable cause for the business to suspect that asbestos-contaminated soil is present.

If material at the workplace cannot be identified, but the PCBU believes that the material is asbestos or ACM, the PCBU must assume the material is asbestos.

If part of the workplace is inaccessible to workers and likely to contain asbestos or ACM, the PCBU must assume that asbestos is present in that part of the workplace.

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Duty to analyse samples

The PCBU that manages or controls a workplace may identify asbestos or ACM by arranging for a sample of material at the workplace to be analysed. The analysis must be done by an accredited laboratory.

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Duty to ensure presence and location of asbestos indicated

The PCBU that manages or controls a workplace must make sure that the presence and location of asbestos or ACM identified at the workplace are clearly indicated. This must be done to meet the requirements of any applicable safe work instrument.

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Duty to prepare asbestos management plan

From April 2018, when asbestos or ACM has been identified at a workplace, or is likely to be present, the PCBU that manages or controls the workplace must make sure that an asbestos management plan is prepared and kept up to date. 

The plan must include information about the following:

  • The identification of asbestos or ACM
  • Decisions, and reasons for decisions, about the management of the risk arising from asbestos at the workplace
  • Procedures for detailing incidents or emergencies involving asbestos or ACM at the workplace
  • The workers who carry out work involving asbestos, including:
    • information and training that has been, and will be, provided to the workers, 
    • roles and responsibilities of the workers,
    • any health monitoring of the workers that has or will be done.

The PCBU must make sure that a copy of the plan for the workplace is available to:

  • a worker (or their representative) who has carried out, or intends to carry out work at the workplace, and
  • a PCBU that has required, or may require work to be carried out at the workplace.
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Duty to review asbestos management plan

From 4 April 2018, the PCBU that manages or controls a workplace that has an asbestos management plan must make sure that the plan is reviewed and, if necessary, revised if:

  • there is a review of a control measure
  • asbestos is removed from, or disturbed, sealed, or enclosed at, the workplace
  • the plan is no longer adequate for managing the asbestos or ACM risk at the workplace
  • a representative requests a review as detailed below
  • five years have passed since the plan was last reviewed.

A representative for workers may request a review of the plan if they believe that:

  • any situation mentioned above affects or may affect the health and safety of a member of the work group they represent, and
  • the PCBU that manages or controls the workplace has not adequately reviewed the plan in response to the situation.

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Health monitoring, training, and use of equipment



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Duty to provide health monitoring

A PCBU must make sure that health monitoring is provided to a person working for them if the worker is at risk of exposure to asbestos when doing licensed asbestos removal work, other ongoing asbestos removal work, or asbestos-related work.

The PCBU must make sure that the health monitoring of the worker doing licensed asbestos removal work begins within four weeks of them starting.

The PCBU does not have to provide health monitoring for a worker engaged to do Class B asbestos removal work under a Class B asbestos removal licence for no more than four weeks in any 12 month period.

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Duty to ensure that appropriate health monitoring is provided

A PCBU must make sure that (unless another type of health monitoring is 16recommended by a medical practitioner) the health monitoring of a worker includes a physical examination and consideration of:

  • the worker’s demographic, medical, and occupational history, and 
  • records of the worker’s personal exposure to asbestos.
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Duty to train workers about asbestos

A PCBU must make sure that their workers, who they believe may be involved in asbestos removal work or asbestos-related work, are trained in the identification and safe handling of, and suitable control measures for, asbestos and ACM. 

This is in addition to the training required by regulation 9 of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.

This does not apply in relation to an asbestos removal worker engaged for work under an asbestos removal licence.

The PCBU must make sure that a record is kept of the training undertaken by the worker while they are carrying out the work, and for five years after the worker finishes working for the business. The record must be available for inspection.

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Duty to limit use of equipment on asbestos or ACM

A PCBU must not use, or direct or allow a worker to use, a high-pressure water spray or compressed air on either asbestos or ACM. 

However a high-pressure water spray may be used for fire-fighting or prevention purposes, or to clear or prevent blockages in waste water or water pipe networks. In specific instances a high-pressure water spray may be used in a relevant approved method for managing risk associated with asbestos.

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