Asbestos Removal Procedures Overview

Identify, Remove and Site Clearance

Asbestos Removal Procedures

There are, as many as, 75 types of jobs worldwide that have the risk of exposing workers to asbestos. When disturbed, asbestos particles become airborne and are a health risk. What is even worse is that our naked eyes cannot see asbestos, and it has no specific smell or taste, so it becomes difficult to know the amount of exposure to this hazardous substance. While many would think people at risk of exposure are asbestos removalist, but this is far from the truth. These trained professionals take proper precautions on the job. It is public who are at risk. This is why the City of Sydney has set standard aimed at reducing asbestos exposure especially at homes and in the workplace, through regulated control and disposal.

Why are products containing asbestos banned?

Asbestos containing materials were common in the 20th century. It was popular as a building material because of its soundproofing, fire resistant, and insulation benefits. Therefore, many houses built or renovated during this period may still contain asbestos material. Due to health concerns, the government banned use and importation of brown and blue asbestos in 1987 and subsequently, impose a total ban on all forms of asbestos in 2003. Asbestos is linked to several chronic conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and Mesothelioma.

When is removal necessary?

Ideally, asbestos-containing materials pose no risk if they remain undisturbed. Safe removal is necessary for any of the following situations
  • Weathering of asbestos containing material
  • Demolitions of asbestos containing materials such as buildings
  • Maintenance or renovation involving building that has asbestos material. This includes electrical, plumbing, phone, plastering, roofing, alarm installation, and general maintenance work
  • When there is damage of asbestos containing material

Asbestos containing materials are categorized as either friable or non-friable. Although both types asbestos poses a significant health risk, the friable asbestos can become airborne easily. If you suspect asbestos speak to VIP Asbestos Removal Sydney to book a free appraisal.

Asbestos removal regulations (NSW Government)

To minimize the exposure risk, SafeWork NSW stipulate that asbestos should be removed by licensed professional removalist. SafeWork NSW regulates the removal and disposal of asbestos waste at approved worksites. The transportation, disposal, and storage of asbestos waste at non-worksites regulation is the responsibility of the local council or NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). So, before proceeding with any renovation or demolition work, you should get a building or demolition licenses respectively from these bodies.

Steps to remove asbestos

a) Tool & equipment

You should minimize risk of exposure by adhering to Code of Practice 2011. You should ensure that you have the right skills and equipment. The required equipment includes:

  • Asbestos vacuum cleaners
  • Sealant
  • Disposable cleaning rags
  • Coverall, gloves and safety footwear
  • Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
  • Asbestos waste container
  • Misting spray bottle or bucket of water
  • Warning signs and barrier tape

b) Asbestos removal

The law allows you to remove the asbestos yourself as long as you meet the set conditions. However, this does not mean it does not possess any risk to human health. DIY asbestos removals do not need a special license but you should adhere to these minimum requirements:

  • Asbestos to be removed should be non-friable (bonded)
  • The limit one shouldn’t surpass is 10m2 of asbestos

c) Site Clearance

Display warning signs and erect barricades to limit access to the asbestos area. If possible, you should lock access doors as long as it does not create an evacuation hazard.

d) Air Monitoring

Air monitoring is necessary to know which control measure is necessary. It varies depending on the location of asbestos, position, and the type of asbestos. Non-friable asbestos less than 10m2 does not require air monitoring. For other cases, it is necessary. A licensed occupational hygienist is required to perform air monitoring.

e) Reporting to Government

Prior to removal work, you should notify the government in writing at least five days before the removal work commence. You should provide all the required documentation and the estimated time it will take to finish the job. In some rare circumstances, work may begin before the five-day’ notice become effective if:

  • Unexpected breakdown of an essential service such as gas, sewage, or water lines that require immediate attention
  • Unexpected event happened and the situation poses risk of exposure, for instance, a forklift crashing into wall built with asbestos cement

If any of the above incidents happen, you should notify the government immediately through a telephone and follow up with a written notification within 24 hours.


If you intend to renovatate, or other work that might involve disturbing of asbestos, you should always ensure safety measures in accordance with the regulations. Remember, using a licensed contractor is the surest way of keeping everyone safe.