Asbestos Surveys CQ Pty Ltd specialise in the following services
We are a full qualified Asbestos Assessor licensed through Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
We are a full qualified Asbestos Assessor licensed through Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
The requirements with regard to asbestos management in the work place are as follows;
For the initial 12 months
3 to 5 Years
The initial step in developing an asbestos management plan is to engage an asbestos consultant, such as Asbestos Surveys CQ Pty Ltd, to undertake an asbestos inspection or survey. The asbestos survey involves a visual inspection of the accessible areas of the building and collecting suspected samples of asbestos materials that are then analysed by a NATA accredited laboratory. An assessment of the risk to health is then carried out on the confirmed asbestos materials. Labels should also be affixed to the asbestos containing materials to warn people of the potential asbestos hazard. Asbestos Surveys CQ specialise in completing all the steps to achieve an asbestos management plan, and will work together with you to ensure the safety of all involved.
If the asbestos containing material poses a health risk based on the activities being undertaken in the current condition (therefore deeming a work environment unsafe), suitable control measures are required to be implemented. This may include restriction to the area if there is a risk to health from exposure, then removal of the asbestos containing materials by a separate licensed contractor. Other methods of controlling asbestos in the workplace is through encapsulation or enclosure by sealing or some other form of physical barrier until removal is possible. In each situation, advice should be sought from a competent asbestos consultant.
After Plan has been Created
The periodic review of asbestos inspections and surveys will be outlined in the asbestos management plan. Generally this occurs on a five-yearly basis, or when significant disturbance has occurred to assess the risk to health. The asbestos management plan incorporates procedures for asbestos removal and maintenance and service work that is likely to disturb asbestos containing materials. This can be part of the induction process and viewed at the contractors sign in area.
Information to Note
An Asbestos Management Plan must be consistent with legislation requirements of asbestos management in the removal, encapsulation, transport and disposal or otherwise potential disturbance of asbestos containing materials. All these activities shall be performed in accordance with relevant Commonwealth and State Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice, and Industry Standards.
Key Codes of Practice include;
State Legislative Requirements – Queensland
Relevant State legislation includes;
The only way to be certain that something contains asbestos is to have a sample of the material tested. Asbestos Surveys CQ Pty Ltd offer asbestos testing services to identify the type of asbestos present. The results of testing can provide peace of mind by confirming whether the material actually contains asbestos or not. If the results of asbestos testing confirm that the material does not contain asbestos, this will reduce future costs of renovation or demolition.
It is recommended that all testing be undertaken by a laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) to undertake asbestos testing to Australian Standard AS 4964 Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples or a laboratory recommended by the work health and safety regulator in your state or territory.
It is also recommended that samples be collected by an experienced professional such as an occupational hygienist, a licensed asbestos assessor or licensed asbestos removalist, or by an accredited laboratory or inspection body. If you decide that you want to take the samples yourself, it is vital that you take appropriate precautions to ensure you do not expose yourself or others to asbestos fibres. Please read and consider the below information and ensure that you have everything ready before you start the process. The information provided has been adapted from the Safe Work Australia How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice.
It is important to note that the results of asbestos testing only state if asbestos was present, it does not provide a risk assessment which can only be conducted by a qualified asbestos consultant. Due to the health risks associated with asbestos inhalation, care should be taken at all times to minimise personal exposure, dust generation and contamination of surrounding areas. If at any time there is a potential for safety to be compromised, cease sampling procedures immediately and contact a professional Hygienist or licenced Asbestos Assessor for advice and assistance.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SAMPLE FRIABLE ASBESTOS (CLASS A) – CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL IMMEDIATELY.
Instructions to and Obligations of the Current Building Owner/Lesse
Availability – Employees
It is essential that the Asbestos Materials Report and Asbestos Materials Register be kept at a known and prominent position on site within the workplace. It is the current owner’s and/or lessee’s responsibility to appoint an employee or representative who can be assigned the task of making both the Report and Register available and known to all employees, works personnel and maintenance personnel who may work in and around those areas listed on the Register or within the Report.
Availability – Trade Contractors
Systems should also be established to ensure that all trades people check the Register before commencing work upon the premises that could involve asbestos containing materials. Contracts and instructions to trades people should clearly inform them that the Register is provided to meet current Workplace Health and Safety requirements regarding asbestos within the workplace and that it is their responsibility to identify whether or not their work could involve contact with asbestos containing materials. If any work requires the disturbance of asbestos containing materials (whether or not they are listed in the Register) appropriate safety procedures must be employed.
Who has duties to manage and control asbestos or asbestos containing materials?
The Workplace Health and Safety Act requires all persons who conduct a business or undertaking to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons are not put at risk from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking. The WHS Regulations include specific obligations to manage and control asbestos and ACM at the workplace.
In some cases, there may be more than one person with management or control of a workplace. For example:
Materials Register Update/Re-inspections
A Person in control of the business or undertaking where an asbestos register is kept must ensure that the register is reviewed and, as necessary, revised if—
(a) the asbestos management plan is reviewed;
(b) further asbestos or ACM is identified at the workplace;
(c) asbestos is removed from, or disturbed, sealed or enclosed at, the workplace;
(d) a health and safety representative requests a review in certain circumstances.
Asbestos Materials Register updates/inspections are to be conducted by a qualified Asbestos Assessor and will comprise a visual assessment of the condition of the in-situ ACM to determine whether the material remains in a satisfactory condition, or if deterioration has occurred since the previous inspection.
Such updates/re-inspections will determine if any remedial action such as encapsulation, isolation or removal of the asbestos containing materials is required by way of noting an areas level of risk on the updated register.
General guidance on the risk management process is available in the Code of Practice: How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks 2011.
Each Employer has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act to ensure the health and safety of all employees and persons entering the workplace. As such, this Asbestos Materials Report and the accompanying Register, when used as indicated, ensures the health and safety of all employees and person within this workplace.
Non-destructive Asbestos Surveys
Asbestos surveys are typically non-destructive by nature and involve inspecting all accessible areas within a structure and identifying materials suspected of containing asbestos. The scope of the asbestos survey includes all construction materials, finishing materials and building services (including fixed plant and equipment) within or adjacent to the structure. The scope will also include any underground services as being assumed to contain Asbestos containing materials.
Where access to any area at the site is denied or restricted, the survey will note that area as being not inspected.
An asbestos survey is to be undertaken by a qualified Asbestos Assessor who is responsible for meeting the following criteria during a survey:
A complete record of the asbestos survey is to be maintained for inspection at any time.
Destructive Asbestos Surveys
Destructive asbestos surveys are similar to non-destructive asbestos surveys except the Asbestos Assessor is required to partially demolish the structure (e.g. expose wall cavities, rip up floor coverings) in order to identify asbestos containing materials, which may be hidden. This may result in damage and destruction to the building and should only be undertaken after the occupants have vacated the building.
The purpose of a destructive asbestos survey is to identify all ACM prior to the commencement of refurbishments/demolition works, which may impact on the unidentified ACM.
If the ACM identified during the survey is to be removed as part of the refurbishment/demolition works, it may not be necessary for the Asbestos Assessor to assess the condition and risk posed by the ACM, as this is largely irrelevant if the ACM is to be removed.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Friable Asbestos (Class A) poses a higher health risk and a suitably qualified Removalist only can be engaged for its removal.
What are the Health Risks of asbestos?
The health risk posed by asbestos containing materials depends (among other factors) upon the friability of the materials. Friability, defined as whether or not the material can be broken down by hand, is related to the potential of the material to generate airborne asbestos fibre. Therefore, friability is directly related to the health risk posed by a particular material.
All Asbestos, whether previously classed as materials or product, are now all classed as ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS (ACM).
What are the Health Warnings regarding asbestos?
The health effects associated with asbestos exposure are due to the inhalation of airborne respirable asbestos fibres. In general, the asbestos fibres cannot be released to become airborne in significant quantities unless the asbestos-containing materials is severely disrupted such as in the case of cutting, sanding, sawing, drilling or abrading asbestos containing materials with power saws/tools or pressurised equipment etc.
All respirable dust, of any type can be harmful to health. All precautions should be taken to minimise dust generation and appropriate respiratory protection should be worn at all times.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres has been linked to three respiratory diseases – asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Exposure may also relate to other cancers, however, there is no conclusive evidence to support this. The three identified diseases are characterised by long latency periods, that is, 20 – 40 years from exposure to the onset of disease.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that can lead to respiratory impairment and to diseases such as lung cancer. It results from the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which are deposited, in the lungs causing scar tissue. The pulmonary changes resulting from the scar tissue are irreversible. It has been found to occur in workers exposed to prolonged and heavy concentrations of asbestos fibres. Asbestosis cannot be effectively treated.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer. There are two types of mesothelioma, pleural which is tumour of the lung or peritoneal, which is a cancer of the abdominal cavity. The higher the level of exposure the greater the risk of developing mesothelioma. However the level of exposure does not affect the length of the latency period, which is usually between 30 and 40 years, before the disease is identified. Mesothelioma cannot be effectively treated.
Lung cancer is not specifically associated with asbestos. Individual lung cancers caused by asbestos cannot be distinguished from those cancers that are caused by other agents such as tobacco smoke. While persons who have been exposed to asbestos who develop lung cancer are usually tobacco smokers, it is generally accepted that asbestos is capable of causing lung cancer, and the tumour may develop where there is no co-existing asbestosis. Lung cancer related to asbestos exposure usually as a latency period of 20 to 40 years between the first exposure and the onset of cancer.
Due to their greater potential to release airborne asbestos fibre, friable materials pose a higher potential risk. In general, these materials should be monitored and controlled to ensure they remain undisturbed until they can be removed by an approved contractor. The Asbestos Materials Register sets out where these materials are identified as present or possibly present.
In assessing the health risk associated with people working on the buildings, it is necessary to look at their potential exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. Under normal conditions, non-friable materials such as asbestos-cement sheeting and sheet/s containing asbestos are not considered a health risk to people working in buildings where they are used in the roof, walls or floors.
This is because the fibres are bound by a matrix (cement, etc) and do not become airborne unless abraded or broken down in some way. These are now defined as “ACM’s” and therefore now subject to CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE MANAGEMENT & CONTROL OF ASBESTOS IN THE WORKPLACE [NOHSC: 2018 (2005)].
It is necessary to have safe systems of work when working with asbestos-cement products/materials – “these types of materials do not present a significant health risk unless they are tooled, cut, sanded or otherwise abraded or machined (particularly at high speeds) to release asbestos dust.”
It is recommended that the following be carried out, as a minimum, with regard to asbestos-cement products, now classed as “materials”, found on site:
Are workplaces legislated under asbestos laws?
Workplaces in general
Workplace asbestos laws are designed to prevent and minimise exposure to asbestos. Compliance with these laws is mandatory and expected by the public. New nationally harmonised asbestos laws for workplaces will be implemented from 2012.
Persons in control of businesses or undertakings must ensure the risk from asbestos containing materials is controlled. An important aspect of the work health and safety laws is the mandatory register of asbestos containing material and implementation of an asbestos management plan.
Registers and asbestos management plans are essential workplace documents that warn people of the presence of asbestos containing materials and outline what safety management is required.
They are of particular use for workers who may be required to perform work upon the asbestos containing materials.
Increased compliance with the mandatory requirement for workplaces and the encouragement of such for residential rental properties is required. Persons in control of businesses and undertakings are required to provide people with training on risk management of asbestos containing materials at their respective workplaces.
What is the current legislation regarding Labelling and Warning Signs?
Current State legislation requires some form of labelling or warning sign on areas where ACM’s are found.
In order to meet this requirement it is strongly recommended, as a minimum, that Warning Signs be installed at the entrance to all buildings where ACM has been found (or areas may be individually marked/labelled). The presence of Warning signs is designed to alert people to the presence of asbestos containing material.
In the event that it is not practical to post Warning Signs (e.g. buried Asbestos Cement pipes) it is a requirement to consult the Asbestos Register for details on the area concerned.
Is there legislation around residential properties?
Currently, Queensland legislation is aimed toward commercial properties under the WHS Act. It is your responsibility however, as a home owner or property manager, to appropriately deal with Asbestos using professional guidance.
Improving the ability of homeowners and residential property managers to identify the presence of asbestos containing materials in their homes/properties also provides an opportunity for the information to be passed on to tradespeople and other workers. This can potentially prevent incorrect work practices that could result in asbestos exposure to the worker and home occupants.
What are the most common types of asbestos?
The most common types of asbestos are outlined below:-
“Chrysotile” is commonly known as white asbestos
“Amosite” is commonly known as grey or brown asbestos
“Crocidolite” is commonly known as blue asbestos.
The following is an extract from the Workplace Health and Safety Compliance and advisory standard for asbestos removal work.
Asbestos is a mineral rock made out of naturally occurring mineral silicate fibres, which belong to either the serpentine or amphibole mineral groups. Mining, milling and processing of asbestos into manufactured materials creates asbestos dust that contains asbestos fibres. Asbestos was used in a variety of workplaces from the 1940’s up until the early 1970’s when the dangers to health inherent in exposure became more widely acknowledged. The range of applications included reinforcing in asbestos cement sheeting, as an insulator on pipes and in buildings, as a fire retardant in textiles and as a filtering material in the chemical and food industries.
There are also different general definitions and meanings for Asbestos as outlined below.
Friable – Loosely Bonded ACM – Thermal and Acoustic Insulation eg. Millboard, Textile, Sprayed Limpet.
Tightly Bonded ACM – Materials Bonded in a Matrix eg. Asbestos-Cement, Asbestos Vinyl, Gaskets.
What are Risk Ratings?
LOW Low health risk.
ACM unlikely to release airborne respirable asbestos fibre and if not disturbed constitutes negligible risk to health.
ACM presents little risk but must be monitored regularly (minimal inspections) for signs of deterioration and or damage.
MODERATE Medium health risk.
Low levels of airborne respirable asbestos fibre possible. Elevated health risk possible with prolonged exposure however if not disturbed generally results in minimal exposure, which constitutes negligible risk to health.
Risk is to be planned in for removal if practical in the next budget period. If there is risk to health it should be isolated and or managed as per the Asbestos Management Plan. Further monitiroing of the ACM may be required depending on the environment it is within.
SIGNIFICANT High health risk.
Elevated levels of airborne respirable asbestos fibre possible. Elevated health risk possible with prolonged exposure however minimal exposure generally constitutes negligible risk to health.
Plan to remove this risk as soon as practical. No untrained personnel allowed in the immediate area. Risk must be controlled in the short term by means of encapsulation or other (refer to Asbestos Management Plan for other methods of control).
A competent person must, based on type and quantity, be engaged (refer to Asbestos Management Plan for competent person) to remove safely. This risk must be communicated to the people in the area and if not managed by encapsulation or other means in the short term, the area must be made a no go zone.
SEVERE Immediate health risk.
Elevated levels of airborne respirable asbestos fibre probable. Elevated health risk probable with prolonged exposure, however minimal exposure is unlikely to constitute a serious risk to health. Requires immediate action to remove or make safe.
Removal / further assessment of this risk is to be planned immediately, area is to be made a no go zone and sign posted accordingly. No untrained personnel allowed in the immediate area.
An appropriately trained person, refer to Asbestos management Plan, must be engaged to manage this assessment and if required remove the ACM safely.
Once removed the Asbestos Register must be updated to reflect the changes.
Glossary of Terminology
Accredited Laboratory means a testing laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) or a similar accreditation authority, or otherwise granted recognition by NATA, either solely or in conjunction with one or more other persons.
Air Monitoring means airborne asbestos fibre sampling to assist in assessing exposures and the effectiveness of control measures. Air monitoring includes exposure monitoring, control monitoring and clearance monitoring.
Note: Air monitoring should be undertaken in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres [NOHSC:3003 (2005)]
Airborne Asbestos Fibres means any fibres of asbestos small enough to be made airborne. For the purposes of monitoring airborne asbestos fibres, only respirable asbestos fibres (those fibres less than 3 µm wide, more than 5 µm long and with a length to width ratio of more than 3 to 1) are counted.
Note: Airborne asbestos fibres are generated by the mechanical disintegration of Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) and subsequent dispersion of the fibres into the air from activities such as mining and the use, removal and disposal of asbestos and ACM. Airborne dust has the potential to contain respirable asbestos fibres.
Asbestos means the fibrous form of mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals, including actinolite, amosite (brown asbestos), anthophyllite, chrysotile (white asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, or any mixture containing one or more of the mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups.
Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM) means any material, object, product or debris that contains asbestos.
Note: Information for determining if a material contains asbestos is provided in Part 9.
Asbestos Removalist means a person conducting a business or undertaking who carries out asbestos removal work.
Note: An asbestos removal license is required in all State and Territory jurisdictions for the removal of friable ACM. Some States and Territories also require a license for removal of specified quantities of ACM, regardless of whether they are friable, and relevant OHS authorities should be consulted prior to any removal work.
Asbestos Vacuum Cleaner means a vacuum cleaner that is fitted with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter and complies with Australian Standard 3544-1988 Industrial Vacuum Cleaners for Particulates Hazardous to Health. Please note a domestic vacuum cleaner is NOT suitable for use with asbestos.
Asbestos Waste means all removed ACM and disposable items used during the asbestos work, such as plastic sheeting used to cover surfaces in the asbestos work area, disposable coveralls, disposable respirators, rags used for cleaning.
Clearance Inspection means an inspection, carried out by a competent person, to verify that an asbestos work area is safe to be returned to normal use after work involving the disturbance of ACM has taken place. A clearance inspection must include a visual inspection, and may also include clearance monitoring and/or settled dust sampling.
Note: A clearance inspection should only be carried out when the asbestos work area is dry
Clearance Monitoring means air monitoring using static or positional samples to measure the level of airborne asbestos fibres in an area following work on ACM. An area is ‘cleared’ when the level of airborne asbestos fibres is measured as being below 0.01 fibres/mL.
Note: Static or positional samples are taken at fixed locations which are usually between one and two metres above floor level
Competent Person means a person possessing adequate qualifications, such as suitable training and sufficient knowledge, experience and skill, for the safe performance of the specific work.
Note: A license may be required for some of the tasks described in this document as requiring a competent person.
Dust and Debris means visible particles, fragments or chunks of material, large and heavy enough to have settled in the work area, that are likely to have originated from ACM.
Friable (Asbestos) means asbestos-containing material which, when dry, is or may become crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure.
Note: This may include ACM that have been subjected to conditions that leave them in a state where they meet the above definition, such as weathering, physical damage, water damage etc.
Hazard means any matter, thing, process or practice that may cause death, injury, illness or disease.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter means a disposable, extended media, dry type filter, in a rigid frame, with a minimum filtration efficiency of 99.97% for nominal 0.3 µm diameter thermally generated dioctylphthalata (DOP) particles or an equivalent efficiency for a specified alternative aerosol and with an initial maximum resistance to airflow of 250 pa when tested at its rated airflow capacity (see Australian Standard 4260-1997 High Efficiency Particulate (HEPA) Filters – Classification, Construction and Performance).
In situ means fixed or installed in its original position, not having been moved.
Inaccessible Areas means areas which are difficult to access, such as wall cavities and the interiors of plant and equipment.
Person with Control means, means a person conducting a business or undertaking to the extent that the business or undertaking involves the management or control, in whole or in part, of the Workplace.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) means equipment and clothing that is used or worn by an individual person to protect themselves against, or minimise their exposure to, workplace risks. It includes items such as facemasks and respirators, coveralls, goggles, helmets, gloves and footwear (see Appendix C).
Risk means the likelihood of a hazard causing harm to a person.
Note: In this code of practice, Risk relates to illness or disease arising from exposure to Airborne Asbestos Fibres.
Settled Dust Sampling means the sampling and analysis of settled surface dust to provide an indication of cleanliness following disturbance of ACM. Settled dust sampling does not provide an indication of risk to health. Sampling techniques include the use of adhesive tape, wipe or micro-vacuum (using an air sampling pump and filter). Analysis can be by polarised light microscopy (PLM) or transmission electron microscopy (TEM). How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice 2011;
Note: Contamination may occur as a result of deterioration of, or work processes involving ACM.
Work means any activity, physical or mental, carried out in the course of a business, Industry, commerce, an occupation or a profession.
(1) A person is a worker if the person carries out work in any
capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking,
including work as—
(a) an employee; or
(b) a contractor or subcontractor; or
(c) an employee of a contractor or subcontractor; or
(d) an employee of a labour hire company who has been
assigned to work in the person’s business or
(e) an outworker; or
(f) an apprentice or trainee; or
(g) a student gaining work experience; or
(h) a volunteer; or
(i) a person of a prescribed class.
(2) For this Act, a police officer is
(a) a worker; and
(b) at work throughout the time when the officer is on duty
or lawfully performing the functions of a police officer,
but not otherwise.
(3) The person conducting the business or undertaking is also a
worker if the person is an individual who carries out work in
that business or undertaking.
(1) A workplace is a place where work is carried out for a
business or undertaking and includes any place where a
worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.
(2) In this section, place includes—
(a) a vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other mobile structure; and
(b) any waters and any installation on land, on the bed of
any waters or floating on any waters.
Workplace Health and Safety Plan is a plan prepared for a workplace or work that states the following:-
(a) The hazards to health or safety that the person required to have the plan prepared knows or
ought reasonably to know, currently exists or might arise –
(i) If the plan is for a workplace – at the workplace; or
(ii) If the plan is for work – relating to the work;
(b) The person’s assessment of the risks that may result because of the hazards;
(c) The control measures the person proposes to use to prevent, or minimise the level of, the risks;
(d) How the person proposes to monitor and review the implementation and effectiveness of the
(e) How and to whom additional measures are to be reported.