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Clearance inspections

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A clearance inspection is an inspection of an area after licensed asbestos removal work has been completed to verify that it is safe for normal use. A clearance inspection must include a visual inspection and may include air monitoring.

What is a clearance certificate?

A clearance certificate must be provided in writing by the licensed asbestos assessor or competent person who carries out the clearance inspection following licensed asbestos removal work.

A clearance certificate can only be issued if the licensed asbestos assessor or competent person is satisfied that:

  • the asbestos removal area and the area immediately surrounding it are free from visible asbestos contamination
  • if air monitoring was carried out as part of the clearance inspection, the monitoring shows asbestos fibre concentration is below 0.01 fibres/ml.

When is a clearance inspection required?

A clearance inspection is required when a person commissions licensed asbestos removal work to be carried out at a workplace. Licensed asbestos removal work is asbestos removal work which requires either a:

  • class A asbestos removal licence
  • class B asbestos removal licence.

A class A asbestos removal licence is required for removal of friable asbestos or asbestos contaminated dust or debris (ACD) other than ACD which is either:

  • associated with the removal of non-friable asbestos; or
  • not associated with the removal of friable or non-friable asbestos and is only a minor contamination.

A class B asbestos removal licence is required for either:

  • removal of more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM); or
  • ACD associated with the removal of more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos or ACM.

Who is responsible for ensuring the clearance inspection is carried out?

The person who commissions the licensed asbestos removal work is responsible for ensuring the clearance inspection is carried out after the work is completed. However, if the workplace is a domestic premise, the licensed asbestos removalist is responsible for ensuring the clearance inspection is carried out.

Who can carry out a clearance inspection and issue a clearance certificate?

Class A asbestos removal work

An independent licensed asbestos assessor must carry out the clearance inspection for class A asbestos removal work. The licensed asbestos assessor must be independent, which means not involved in the removal of the asbestos and not involved in a business involved in the removal of the asbestos.

A licensed asbestos assessor must have acquired through training or experience the knowledge and skills of relevant asbestos removal practice. The asbestos assessor must also have either:

  • certification in CPCCBC5014A Conduct asbestos assessment associated with removal
  • a tertiary qualification in occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, science, building, construction, or environmental health.

Class B asbestos removal work

An independent competent person must carry out a clearance inspection for class B asbestos removal work. The competent person must not have been involved in the removal of the asbestos, A competent person can be from the business that carried out the class B asbestos removal work providing the competent person was not involved in the removal of the asbestos.

A 'competent person' for a clearance inspection following class B asbestos removal work means a person who has acquired through training or experience the knowledge and skills of relevant asbestos removal industry practice and holds:

  • certification in CPCCBC5014A Conduct asbestos assessment associated with removal, or
  • certification in either CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos or CPCCDE3015A Remove friable asbestos, or
  • a tertiary qualification in occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, science, building, construction, or environmental health.

An asbestos assessor or a competent person must be independent. However, if it is not reasonably practicable for the assessor or competent person to be independent, the person commissioning the asbestos removal work (or in the case of domestic premises, the licensed removalist) may apply to the regulator for an exemption from the requirement that the assessor or competent person be independent. For more information about exemptions.

Clearance certificates issued improperly after class B asbestos removal work

A competent person must not issue a clearance certificate unless satisfied the asbestos removal area and the area immediately surrounding it are free from visible asbestos contamination. Inspectors can take enforcement action against a competent person who issues a clearance certificate improperly. In addition, an inspector can issue an improvement notice or prohibition notice to the licensed asbestos removalist who carried out the class B asbestos removal work and direct the removalist  to take steps necessary to ensure the asbestos removal area, and the area immediately surrounding it, are free from visible asbestos contamination. Visible asbestos contamination would include any visible asbestos-contaminated dust and debris or asbestos waste that has not been properly contained and labelled for disposal.

The licensed asbestos removalist must then ensure a clearance inspection of the asbestos removal area is carried out by a new competent person who is completely independent from the removalist.

The licensed removalist must not seek to recover from the owner or occupier of the asbestos removal area the costs of carrying out work to clean up the asbestos removal area  or the subsequent clearance inspection.

Transitional arrangements for 'competent persons for clearance inspections

Under the WHS Regulation, an independent competent person is required to carry out a clearance inspection and issue a clearance certificate following class B asbestos removal work.

Until 31 December 2014, a reference to a 'competent person' is taken to include a 'person who has acquired through training, qualifications and experience the knowledge and skills to carry out the task'.

From 1 January 2015, a competent person for a clearance inspection for class B asbestos removal work must be a person who has acquired through training or experience the knowledge and skills of relevant asbestos removal industry practice, and holds one of the following:

  • certification in CPCCBC5014A Conduct asbestos assessment associated with removal, or
  • certification in either CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos or CPCCDE3015A Remove friable asbestos, or
  • a tertiary qualification in occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, science, building, construction, or environmental health.

Who is a competent person for a clearance inspection for removal of non-licensed quantities of asbestos, and following asbestos-related work?

The WHS Regulation does not require a written clearance certificate following the removal of less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos or following the completion of asbestos related work.

However, before reoccupation of the area, decontamination of dust and debris is still required. The minimum requirements for a competent person checking for evidence that the work area and vicinity is free of visible dust and debris is a person who has acquired through training, qualifications and experience the knowledge and skills to carry out the task. The person should have:

  • working knowledge of the asbestos removal industry, the asbestos management code and asbestos removal code
  • the ability to identify what is, or what may be, asbestos containing material
  • the ability to thoroughly inspect the area for suspected material.

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