Asbestos Licences in NSW
Learn About Asbestos Removal Licensing
In New South Wales, Safework NSW handles all licenses and registrations for asbestos removal workers. Unlicensed asbestos removalists face large on the spot fines is caught working with asbestos. There are over 600 companies licensed to remove asbestos currently in the state. Many local removalists like Pro Asbestos Removal Sydney provide a range of services outside of removal including testing, disposal and demolition services.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group made up of six naturally-occurring fiber minerals, namely, chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.
Chrysotile is the most common form of asbestos and are found in areas of homes and offices such as roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors. It can also be found in brake linings of automobiles, pipe insulation, and stoppers .
Crocidolite, also called blue asbestos, contains the least heat resistance, and is commonly used in spray-on coatings, cement products and insulates steam engines and pipes.
Amosite, or brown asbestos, is used most frequently in cement sheets and pipe insulations, and commonly found in ceiling tiles and in-thermal insulation products.
Anthophyllite, a gray-brown asbestos, is not commercially used and is known as a contaminant. It is mostly found in composite flooring.
Tremolite, an asbestos that can be white, green, gray, or transparent, is another mineral that was not commercially used because of its contamination. It was commonly found in vermiculite and talcum powders, and occasionally found in paints, sealants, and roofing materials.
Actinolite, which shares the same chemical formula with tremolite, is also never used commercially, a contaminant, and most often found in metamorphic rocks.
What is Friable Asbestos?
By legal definition, friable asbestos is any material that contains more than one percent asbestos by weight or area, that depends if it is a bulk or sheet material and can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by human hand. In layman’s terms, it is an asbestos that, when dry, can be reduced to powder when crushed by hand. Any material containing it have high percentages of asbestos fibres and are more likely to release the fibres into airborne environment when disturbed, posing greater health risks. Friable materials must only be handled by a Class A asbestos removalist. Some examples may include, pipe lagging, boiler insulations, fire retardants on steel work, and sprayed insulations.
What is Non-Friable Asbestos?
Legally, non-friable asbestos is defined as any material that contains more than one percent asbestos, but cannot be pulverized under pressure. In short, they are firmly-bound in the matrix of the material and are unlikely to release asbestos fibre into airborne environment, posing a lower health risks. Non-friable materials are solid, tightly-bound, and most common in domestic houses. Some examples may include, cement products, textured paints, and vinyl floor coverings.
Asbestos Health Dangers
Asbestos exposure can cause a number of health problems. The most dangerous is pleural mesothelioma, a form of rare, aggressive cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue surrounding the lungs. The disease is caused primarily by the inhalation of the fibers. They accumulate in the body and cause cellular and genetic damage. There are three types of exposures that trigger this disease: occupational exposure, secondary exposure, or environmental exposure.
Occupational exposure refers to contact with asbestos while on the job, mostly on blue-collar ones. Those working in constructions, shipyards, power plants or other hazardous work environments are likely to be exposed to asbestos.
Secondary asbestos exposure refers to the families of those whose jobs were mentioned above. These workers brought home airborne asbestos fibers with them.
Environmental asbestos exposure refers to any indirect exposure caused by environmental pollution or naturally-occurring asbestos. Environmental pollution are found in areas nearby asbestos mining or manufacturing, while naturally-occurring asbestos occur in areas where there are natural asbestos deposits.
There are two licences for asbestos removal, Class A and Class B. These are issued by Safework Nsw.
Class A licence
Class A licence allows you to remove friable and non-friable asbestos, and any asbestos-contaminated dust/debris (ACD). To be eligible for Class A license, you and your supervisor must be over 18 years old. You must also ensure that the supervisor has completed the approved courses related to removal and supervising of friable asbestos, with at least 3 years of industry experience.
Class B license
Class B license allows you to remove 10 sq. meters or more of non-friable asbestos. It also allows you to remove ACD for non-friable asbestos. To be eligible for Class B license, you and your supervisor must be over 18 years old, with your supervisor completing the approved courses related to removal and supervising of non-friable asbestos, and has at least 12 months of industry experience.
How To Hire A Reliable Asbestos Removalist
You can find an extensive list of licensed asbestos removalists in the links below:
- Asbestos Removalist
- Other government-recognized providers
While asbestos materials are commonly found in houses and offices, it is strongly advised to let the professionals do the work for you. Dealing with asbestos without proper knowledge can expose you and your family to long-term health risks. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibers. Seek professional help to avoid such risks.