Not everyone is qualified to work with asbestos. Asbestos is a hazardous material and can be a risk to health if it is not handled appropriately.
Under the Construction Occupations Licensing Act 2004, licensed asbestos removalists are qualified in handling (including disturbing) asbestos in buildings and removing and disposing of asbestos from buildings.
The requirements for people working with asbestos (who are not licensed asbestos assessors or licensed asbestos removalist) are outlined in the Building General Regulation 2008. In order for someone to handle small amounts (less than 10 square metres) of bonded asbestos, they MUST:
Asbestos is a dangerous substance. Under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 (the Act), everyone who is involved in the handling, disturbing, removing and/or disposing of materials containing asbestos must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risks resulting from handling disturbing, removing and/or disposing of the materials. Anyone who fails to do so could be subject to prosecution under the Act. For example, if someone dumps a material that contains asbestos, they commit an offence against the Act. This type of a breach can result in penalties of up to $165,000, 5 years imprisonment or both for individuals; or penalties of up to $825,000 for corporations who commit an offence.
These obligations include:
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, penalties can be issued for breaches of these obligations. These penalties can involve employers and persons in control of workplaces being issued with an improvement notice, being issued with a notice prohibiting work and/or being prosecuted.
Click here for information on how to safely work with asbestos.
Click here for information on how to safely remove asbestos.
Click here for information on how to safely dispose of asbestos.