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Asbestos Policy


Academic year: 2023

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This policy should be read in conjunction with relevant legislation, guidelines and codes of practice. Legal advice should be sought in relation to certain circumstances and no liability will be accepted for losses resulting from reliance on this policy.





Roles and responsibilities of Council

  • Educating residents
  • Managing land
  • Managing waste
  • Regulatory responsibilities
  • Responsibilities to workers

Additional legislation, policies and standards related to the safe management of asbestos are listed in Appendix G. The situations in which the Council has a regulatory role in the safe management of asbestos are listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Situations in which Council has a regulatory role in managing asbestos
Table 1: Situations in which Council has a regulatory role in managing asbestos

Other stakeholders involved in managing asbestos

Asbestos in the Local Government Area: Information for the community

  • Naturally-occurring asbestos
    • Responsibilities for naturally-occurring asbestos
    • Managing naturally-occurring asbestos
  • Contamination of land with asbestos
    • Responsibilities for contaminated land
    • Finding out if land is contaminated
    • Duty to report contaminated land
    • Derelict buildings
  • Responding to emergencies and incidents
    • Responsibilities in the clean up after an emergency or incident
    • Advice to the public regarding clean up after an emergency or incident
  • Council’s process for changing land use
  • Council’s process for assessing development
    • Responsibilities for approving development
    • Providing advice to home owners, renovators and developers
    • Identifying asbestos
    • Removing asbestos, refurbishments and demolitions
    • Exempt or complying development
    • Development applications
    • Compliance and enforcement
  • Managing asbestos as a waste
    • Responsibilities for asbestos waste management
    • Handling asbestos waste for disposal
    • Transporting asbestos waste
    • Disposing of asbestos waste at waste facilities
    • Illegal dumping of asbestos waste
    • Asbestos remaining on-site
  • Complaints and investigations

The Council may also issue a Clearance Notice or Prevention Notice under the Environmental Operations Protection Act 1997 as described in section 6.1 of this policy. Complaints and questions about facilities licensed under the Environmental Operations Protection Act 1997 should be directed to EPA.

Management of asbestos risks within Council

Rights and responsibilities of workers at the Council workplace

  • Duties of Council workers at the Council workplace
    • The General Manager
    • Workers
    • Prohibited work activities
  • Responsibilities of Council to Council workers
    • Council’s general responsibilities
    • Education, training and information for workers
    • Health monitoring for workers

The Council will confirm whether on-site disposal is permitted under planning controls whether or not consent is required and will require the on-site disposal to be recorded on the zoning certificate (section 149 certificate). The Council has general responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2011 and the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 2011. The Council will not import asbestos or materials containing asbestos into Australia as prohibited by the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

Topics that may be covered by the training are described in the Code of Practice on how to remove asbestos safely (Catalog No. WC03561). A list of Council employees who have been appropriately trained to respond to asbestos hazards is maintained in the Council's Electronic Records Management (ECM) system under the heading "Asbestos Register/Policy". Council will ensure that a worker's health is monitored if they are carrying out licensed asbestos removal work, other ongoing asbestos removal work or asbestos-related work at a Council workplace and are exposed to the risk of exposure to asbestos while performing the work.

The health monitoring will be in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Safe Removal of Asbestos (Catalogue No. WC03561) and meet the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Part 8.5 Division 1). Workers who have previously been exposed to asbestos and if there is a risk to the worker's health as a result of this exposure are covered by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (clauses 435-444). The Council will develop an Occupational Health and Safety Monitoring Plan (if required) based on the Code of Practice for the Safe Removal of Asbestos (Catalogue No WC03561) and Part 8.5 Division 1 of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 2011.

Identifying and recording asbestos hazards in the Council workplace

  • Identifying asbestos
    • Material sampling
  • Indicating the presence and location of asbestos
  • Asbestos register
  • Suspected asbestos

Managing asbestos-related risks in the Council workplace

  • Asbestos management plan
  • Asbestos management plan for naturally-occurring asbestos
  • Management options for asbestos-related risks in the Council workplace
  • Sites contaminated with asbestos that are Council workplaces
  • Demolition or refurbishment of Council buildings and assets
  • Removal of asbestos in the Council workplace
    • Removal by Council workers
    • Removal by contractors
    • Clearance inspections and certificates

When the Council is informed that asbestos removal work is to be carried out at the workplace, the Council will inform workers and those in the immediate vicinity of the workplace and restrict access to the asbestos removal area in accordance with the Health and Safety Regulations. Safety at Work 2011. Where the Council commissions the removal of asbestos at a workplace, the Council will ensure that the asbestos removal work is carried out only by a licensed asbestos remover who is properly licensed to carry out the work, unless cases where it is specified in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2011 that no license is required. Where Council requires the services of asbestos removers, Council will require the license details of the asbestos removers before engaging their services and will verify the license details with the SafeWork NSW Certification Unit before entering into a contract or agreement with licensed asbestos removers.

The Council is required to ensure that the work is carried out by a competent person who has been trained in the identification and safe handling and appropriate control measures of asbestos and asbestos containing materials. The Council will therefore require a statement in a written contract or agreement with the licensed asbestos remover that the licensed asbestos remover undertaking the work has been adequately trained and provided with appropriate health monitoring by their employer. Where the Council becomes aware of any breach by a licensed asbestos remover, the Council will report this to SafeWork NSW.

If the Council commissions any licensed asbestos removal works, the Council will ensure that on completion of the licensed asbestos removal works an inspection is carried out and a certificate of approval is issued by an independent licensed asbestos assessor (for Class A asbestos removal works) or an independent competent person (in in any other case) before the asbestos removal area is reoccupied. A certificate of removal of friable asbestos will require a visual inspection and air monitoring at the asbestos removal site. Air monitoring must be carried out by a licensed independent asbestos assessor before and during the removal of Class A asbestos.

Accidental disturbance of asbestos by workers

The friable asbestos clearance certificate states that there was no visible asbestos residue in or near the area where the work was carried out and that the level of asbestos fibers in the air was less than 0.01 asbestos fibres/ml.

Council’s role in the disposal of asbestos waste

  • Responding to illegal dumping
  • Transporting and disposing of asbestos waste
  • Re-excavation of landfill sites

Re-excavation of a municipal landfill where significant quantities of asbestos waste are deposited is not encouraged and should only be considered with reference to any available records of the nature, distribution and quantity of asbestos waste required under the relevant legislation and consultation with the Environment Protection Authority (as the relevant regulatory authority under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997).

Advice to tenants and prospective buyers of Council owned property

Implementing Council’s asbestos policy

  • Supporting documents
  • Communicating the policy
  • Non-compliance with the policy

In the event of substantial revisions to the policy, the revisions shall be approved by the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Executive Officer shall notify all persons who may have cause to undertake activities listed in Annex A under Section 3 to arrange for or guide. , or for, Council. Failure by employees to comply with the policy and failure of managers to adequately inform relevant employees of this policy will be considered non-compliance with this policy. The appropriate supervisor, manager, group manager or the general manager will take action on non-compliance with the policy and this may include providing education and training, issuing a verbal or written warning, changing the duties of the employee, or in the case of serious violations, termination of the service of the employee or contractor.

Each case must be assessed on its merits with a view to achieving a satisfactory result for all parties. Employees should contact their supervisor or manager if they experience difficulty understanding or implementing the policy, or if they are concerned that other workers are not complying with the policy.

Variations to this policy

What is asbestos?

Where is asbestos found?

  • Naturally-occurring asbestos
  • Residential premises
  • Commercial and industrial premises
  • Sites contaminated with asbestos

Further information can be found in section 5 of this Policy and in the Naturally Occurring Asbestos Fact Sheet (Catalogue No. WC03728) published by SafeWork NSW, which contains a photograph of naturally occurring asbestos. The SafeWork NSW website provides further information on naturally occurring asbestos and supporting documents on what people can do to avoid contact with naturally occurring asbestos. Fiber cement boards, commonly known as "fibro", "asbestos boards" or "AC sheets" (asbestos containing boards), are the most commonly used old asbestos material in residential premises.

Other asbestos-containing materials were used in "fibro" homes, as well as found in brick and wood housing stock from the period. Some asbestos-containing materials found in residential settings in New South Wales are listed in Schedule J. Contamination of soil by asbestos or asbestos-containing materials can pose a risk in urban and rural settings if the asbestos can lead to increased levels of fibers in the air that people can breathe.

While buried material may not cause airborne asbestos fibers if stored safely, improper handling of this waste could result in harmful levels of airborne asbestos fibers. In general, significant contamination is usually associated with former asbestos processing facilities or where large amounts of buried friable asbestos waste have been discovered, causing measurable levels of asbestos fibers in the air. Guidance on assessing land can be found in: Guidance on Contamination Reporting Duty under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.

Potentially hazardous activities

Health hazards

Crackdown on Illegal Dumping: A Handbook for Local Government, 2007 (EPA) www.epa.nsw.gov.au/illegaldumping/resources.htm. Information about the IDACUP ​​is available at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/IDACUP.htm. Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public, Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth), Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, Canberra, 2013 (available at: . www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/ Content /asbestos-toc~asbestos-about).

Code of practice how to safely remove asbestos (Catalogue no WC03561) published by SafeWork NSW www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file how-to-safely-remove-asbestos-code- of-practice- 3561.pdf. Tenants' rights Factsheet 26 Asbestos and lead, 2010 (Tenants NSW) www.tenants.org.au/publish/factsheet-26-asbestos-lead/index.php. Further information about HACA can be found on the SafeWork NSW website: www.safework.nsw.gov.au.

Website: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/ohp-environ-enhealth-committee.htm.

Scenarios illustrating which agencies lead a response in NSW

SafeWork NSW EPA (Protection of the Environment . Operations Act 1997 Scheduled Activities Public Authorities, declared contaminated sites). SafeWork NSW (on-site workers) Potential for exposure on public property EPA (Protection of the Environment. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Imported Goods) Worker Health Risks SafeWork NSW.

SafeWork NSW (Risks to employees) Local Council (Risks to the general public) Department of Planning and. Some asbestos-containing materials found in New South Wales residential environments (non-exhaustive list) Asbestos-containing materials Estimated delivery dates. Vinyl floor tiles impregnated with asbestos Available until the 1960s Asbestos-containing paper backing for linoleum Available until the 1960s.

Asbestos-containing laminates (such as Formica) are used where heat resistance is required. Asbestos-containing pegboard. Please note: A class B permit is required for the removal of more than 10 m² of non-friable asbestos or material containing asbestos, but the permit holder may also remove a maximum of 10 m² of non-friable asbestos or material containing asbestos. Note: A class B permit is required for removal of asbestos-containing dust associated with the removal of more than 10 m² of non-friable asbestos or asbestos-containing material, but the permit holder may also remove asbestos-containing dust associated with the removal of up to 10 m² of non-friable asbestos or material containing asbestos.


Table 1: Situations in which Council has a regulatory role in managing asbestos


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