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Asbestos removal work

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An asbestos removal licence is held by a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). Workers carry out licensed asbestos removal work on behalf of or for the PCBU who holds the licence. Individual workers do not hold an asbestos licence but must meet certain training requirements.

An asbestos removal licence issued by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is valid for five years.

Requirements for licensed asbestos removal work

To conduct licensed asbestos removal work, other requirements include:

  • getting a copy of the asbestos register for the workplace
  • preparing asbestos removal control plans and making them readily accessible
  • informing people before asbestos removal work starts
  • erecting signage and barricades
  • limiting access to the asbestos removal work area
  • having decontamination facilities available
  • disposing of asbestos waste properly
  • being aware of additional requirements for class A asbestos removal work, including air monitoring
  • notifying Workplace Health and Safety Queensland five days prior to work commencing.

Documentation requirements for asbestos removal and asbestos-related work

Preparing an asbestos removal control plan

A licensed asbestos removalist must prepare and document an asbestos removal control plan for any licensed asbestos removal work. The asbestos removal control plan must include:

  • details of how the asbestos removal will be carried out, including the method to be used and the tools, equipment and personal protective equipment to be used
  • details of the asbestos to be removed, including location, type and condition of the asbestos.

Safe work method statement (SWMS)

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) carrying out high risk construction work must prepare and document a safe work method statement (SWMS). High risk construction work includes construction work that involves or is likely to involve, the disturbance of asbestos. A SWMS must:

  • identify the high risk construction work
  • state hazards relating to the high risk construction work and risks to health and safety associated with those hazards
  • describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks
  • describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Keeping documents

The asbestos removal control plan and the SWMS both have similar requirements on the length of time they are to be kept.

The asbestos removal control plan must be kept until all the asbestos removal work to which it relates has been completed. The plan must be readily accessible to other PCBUs and workers at the workplace, and if the work is being carried out at domestic premises, it must also be accessible to the occupants. If a notifiable incident occurs in connection with the asbestos removal work, the licensed asbestos removalist must keep the plan for at least two years after the incident occurs.

A SWMS must be kept by the PCBU until the high risk construction work to which it relates has been completed. The SWMS must be readily accessible to any worker engaged by the PCBU to carry out the high risk construction work. If a notifiable incident occurs in connection with the high risk construction work, the PCBU must keep the statement for at least two years after the incident occurs.

Combining the asbestos removal control plan and SWMS

Due to the overlap of information to be included in both the asbestos removal control plan and the SWMS, there is a potential for duplication of paper work required before licensed asbestos removal work is carried out.

WHSQ considers the asbestos removal control plan covers the information required in a SWMS so a licensed asbestos removalist can rely on the asbestos removal control plan as evidence of having prepared a SWMS. WHSQ inspectors will not require licensed asbestos removalists to have two separate documents for an asbestos removal control plan and a SWMS.

Other asbestos work requiring documentation

The removal of less than ten square metres of non-friable asbestos containing material (ACM), or removal of asbestos-contaminated dust or debris (ACD) associated with that work, does not require an asbestos removal control plan, however a SWMS is required and must be documented.

Asbestos-related work means work involving asbestos other than asbestos removal work, for example, drilling into ACM. Asbestos-related work that is also high risk construction work (i.e. construction work that involves the disturbance of asbestos) requires a documented safe work method statement.

For more information:

Training requirements

Persons conducting a business or undertaking must ensure workers, supervisors, assessors and competent persons complete specific training requirements.

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