A business must not carry out, or direct or allow a worker to carry out, work involving asbestos unless it is authorised and undertaken in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA).
Work involving asbestos covers the:
- disposal, or
- distribution of asbestos or ACM.
Authorised work undertaken in accordance with the WHS regulations, includes:
- genuine research and analysis
- sampling and identification
- maintenance of, or service work on, non-friable asbestos or ACM, fixed or installed before 31 December 2003
- removal or disposal of asbestos or ACM, including demolition
- the transport and disposal of asbestos or asbestos waste in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1993
- demonstrations, education or practical training in relation to asbestos or ACM
- display, or preparation or maintenance for display, of an artefact or thing that is, or includes, asbestos or ACM
- management in accordance with these regulations of in situ asbestos that was installed or fixed before 31 December 2003
- laundering asbestos contaminated clothing.
- soil that a competent person has determined—
- does not contain any visible ACM or friable asbestos; or
- work that disturbs asbestos during mining operations that involve the extraction of, or exploration for, a mineral other than asbestos
- naturally occurring asbestos managed in accordance with an asbestos management plan.
A PCBU or employers is prohibited from using, or directing or allowing a worker to use, certain tools and work methods when working with asbestos-containing materials.
When working with, or removing, asbestos-containing materials:
- never use compressed air or abrasive blasting
- never use high pressure water cleaners
- never use power tools, such as angle grinders, circular saws and electric sanders (unless enclosed or used with a device or process that prevents dust)
- never use household vacuum cleaners even if they have a HEPA filter (only specially designed cleaners for work with asbestos can be used).
All of these activities are very dangerous as they can release large numbers of asbestos fibres in to the air.
Prohibited use of water blasters
It is illegal to use a high pressure water blaster on asbestos cement roofs, fences and walls.
Water blasters destroy the surface of asbestos-containing materials spreading asbestos fibres widely and putting your health and your neighbours’ health at risk. The clean-up costs can be very expensive.
Well maintained asbestos cement cladding and roofs are not a risk to your health unless they are physically disturbed.