Specific obligations are outlined in the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act to ensure that asbestos is properly managed to avoid exposure. A person that is conducting a business or who manages a building must have a building inspection performed to identify any possible areas that may contain asbestos. An asbestos register and an asbestos management plan must also be prepared, if asbestos is present. The ACT also extends the responsibility of building inspection to persons that do demolition or refurbishing work. In the absence of an asbestos register or asbestos management plan, they must ensure that the building is inspected by a competent person.
Property owners that do not wish to conduct sampling tests to determine if asbestos exists in a particular material do not have to do. It is not a legislative requirement and they can assume that the mineral is present. If they choose to do asbestos sampling, after a building inspection is performed, then they have two options: bulk sampling or air quality sampling. Asbestos sampling tests are usually done with polarised light microscopy (PLM).
The asbestos management plan and asbestos register should be assessed regularly and in accordance with the recommendations of the asbestos auditor to update the asbestos levels in the building. A building inspection must be performed to identify any changes to asbestos containing materials. These changes could be caused by removals, deterioration, encapsulation, etc. If all asbestos-containing materials were removed from the building then this information should be present.
If asbestos removal is recommended in the asbestos register, then this should be undertaken by licensed professionals. Property owners or managers can remove less than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos, provided that all the necessary safety controls and measures are observed. However, areas that are larger than 10m2, or is friable in nature, should only be removed by an asbestos removalist. This professional will either have a Class A or Class B licence. Professionals with a Class A licence can remove both friable and non-friable asbestos whilst those with a Class B license can only remove non-friable asbestos.