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Asbestos registers for workplaces

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A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure asbestos at the workplace is identified, the location of asbestos is clearly indicated and recorded in a register and have a written asbestos management plan if asbestos has been identified at the workplace (or is likely to be there at times).

An asbestos register is not required if the building was constructed after 31 December 1989 and no asbestos has been identified at the workplace and asbestos is not likely to be present.

The asbestos register must be maintained so the information in the register is up to date and be readily accessible.

On this page:

Identifying asbestos or ACM at the workplace

A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (ACM) at the workplace is identified by a competent person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience the knowledge and skills to carry out this task. Where a sample of suspected ACM is taken, this does not have to be carried out by a licensed asbestos removalist.

The requirement to ensure asbestos or ACM at the workplace is identified by a competent person does not apply:

  • to naturally occurring asbestos(e.g. asbestos encountered during mining or quarrying)
  • if the duty holder assumes asbestos or ACM is present
  • if the duty holder has reasonable grounds to believe that asbestos or ACM is not present.

If asbestos or ACM is assumed to be present at a workplace, it is taken to be identified at the workplace.

Persons who may be considered to be competent in the identification of asbestos and ACM include:

  • occupational hygienists who have experience with asbestos and ACM
  • licensed asbestos assessors
  • asbestos removal supervisors
  • individuals who have a statement of attainment in the VET course for asbestos assessors
  • a person working for an organisation accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) under ISO 17020 for surveying asbestos.

If there is not a competent person within the organisation an external competent person should be engaged. The steps a competent person should follow to take a sample of suspected ACM are outlined in Appendix A of the How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice 2011.

Reasonable grounds that asbestos or ACM is not present at the workplace

A person with management or control may have reasonable grounds to believe that asbestos or ACM is not present at a workplace.

Factors to consider include:

  • the age of the workplace building or plant
  • the material or products used in constructing the building or plant given that asbestos was used in a wide range of products (e.g. asbestos-cement sheeting for interior/exterior walls, ceilings and roofs, gaskets, asbestos backed vinyl or vinyl tiles; sealants and mastics).

Examples of reasonable grounds include:

  • a workplace building constructed after 31 December 1989
  • no plant or equipment at the workplace was made or installed before 2004
  • all asbestos or ACM has been removed from the workplace.

Register of asbestos or ACM at a workplace

A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure an asbestos register is prepared and kept at the workplace. The asbestos register must record any asbestos or ACM identified at the workplace or likely to be present from time to time.

An asbestos register is not required if:

  • the workplace is a building that was constructed after 31 December 1989, and
  • no asbestos has been identified at the workplace, and
  • no asbestos is likely to be present from time to time.

It is important to note that even if no asbestos is identified, or is determined not to be present based on reasonable grounds, the register must state that no asbestos or ACM is identified or present at the workplace.

Asbestos register access and review

The register must be kept up to date and be readily accessible to workers and others at the workplace. The register must be reviewed at least once every five years or earlier if:

  • the asbestos or ACM has been disturbed, removed, sealed or enclosed
  • further asbestos or ACM is identified a the workplace
  • the asbestos management plan for the workplace is reviewed.

Transfer of asbestos register

If a person with management or control of a workplace intends to relinquish management or control, they must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that a copy of the asbestos register is given to the person (if any) assuming management or control of the workplace.

Asbestos registers and apartment owner occupiers and bodies corporate

Section 7 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 excludes most strata title bodies corporate from being a 'person conducting a business or undertaking' under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Unless a strata title body corporate for a residential unit/townhouse complex engages a worker as an employee (employee being the key term) they are not a 'person conducting a business or undertaking', and therefore the asbestos register requirement under the WHS Regulation 2011 does not apply. If a strata title body corporate is excluded from being regarded as a 'person conducting a business or undertaking', then the strata title body corporate cannot be regarded as a person with management or control of a workplace under the WHS Regulation 2011.

View more information about strata title bodies corporate on the Apartment owner occupiers and bodies corporate web page.

Analysing asbestos samples

Samples of material suspected of containing asbestos must be analysed by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) laboratory accredited for the relevant test method, or a laboratory approved or operated by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. The NATA website lists accredited laboratories to perform asbestos analysis.

Warning signs and labels

A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure that the presence and location of asbestos or ACM is clearly indicated, and where it is reasonably practicable to do so, by using labels. In some circumstances, it may be more appropriate to use warning signs. More information about labels and warning signs can be found in the How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice 2011.

Demolition and refurbishment

A person with management or control of a workplace must ensure the asbestos register is reviewed and revised if it is not adequate before demolition or refurbishment of:

  • a building constructed before 31 December 1989
  • a non-building structure constructed or installed before 31 December 2003 if there are reasonable grounds to believe asbestos is installed in the structure
  • plant constructed or installed before 31 December 2003 if there are reasonable grounds to believe asbestos is installed in the plant.

A copy of the register must be given to the business that will be carrying out the demolition or refurbishment before the work starts.

The business carrying out demolition or refurbishment at a workplace must obtain a copy of the register before demolition or refurbishment work starts. If there is no register for the structure or plant, the business carrying out the demolition or refurbishment must not start the work until the structure or plant has been inspected to determine whether asbestos or ACM is present.

Removal of asbestos or ACM at a workplace

For any asbestos removal carried out a workplace which is not domestic premises, the asbestos removalist must obtain a copy of the asbestos register before the removal work is carried out.

Further information

More information about asbestos registers and asbestos management plans can be found in the How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace Code of Practice 2011.

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