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Asbestos notifications

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

There are situations involving asbestos when certain duty holders must notify Comcare under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.

The situations are when asbestos removal work will be carried out, there are elevated asbestos fibre levels, or emergency demolition of structures containing asbestos is required.


Licensed asbestos removal work notification

Asbestos removalists must notify Comcare of any asbestos removal work:

  • being conducted at a workplace of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, or a self-insured licensee
  • for which a Class A or Class B asbestos removal licence is required.

A separate notification must be provided for each workplace.

Both Comcare and a state or territory work health and safety regulator may need to be notified about the same asbestos removal work. If unsure, contact the relevant regulator.

Notification is not required for removal of 10 square metres or less of non-friable asbestos as this is not considered to be licensed asbestos removal work under legislation.

Duty to notify

The licensed asbestos removalist must notify Comcare.

The removalist will:

  • be licensed under the Commonwealth jurisdiction to carry out Class A (friable) or Class B (non-friable) asbestos removal work, or
  • have been granted an asbestos removal licence by a state or territory regulator to conduct asbestos removal work at a workplace of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, or a self-insured licensee.

When to notify us

Standard removal work

Licensed asbestos removalists must notify Comcare in writing at least five (5) days before starting asbestos removal work.

Sudden and unexpected events—immediate notification

Licensed asbestos removal work can start immediately if there is:

  1. a sudden and unexpected event that may cause people to be exposed to respirable asbestos fibres, or
  2. an unexpected breakdown of an essential service that must be immediately rectified. Essential services mean the supply of gas, water, sewerage, telecommunications, electricity and similar services, or chemicals, fuel and refrigerant in pipes or lines.

In these circumstances, the licensed asbestos removalist must notify the regulator immediately on 1300 366 979 and then in writing within 24 hours of notifying by phone.

How to notify us

Submit the Licensed Asbestos Removal Work Notification form (PDF, 197.6 KB) by:

Include as much information as possible about the asbestos work. If you do not complete the mandatory information, you cannot begin the work (unless work is for a sudden or unexpected event) and must complete a follow-up written notification.

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations) imposes strict timeframes to notify Comcare of licensed asbestos work. Penalties apply.

High respirable asbestos fibre levels notification

Comcare must be immediately notified if levels of airborne asbestos are elevated.

The licensed asbestos removalist must notify Comcare immediately if respirable asbestos fibre levels are recorded at more than 0.02 fibres/ml during asbestos removal work that requires a Class A asbestos removal licence.

The licensed asbestos removalist must also undertake immediate remedial actions to minimise risks to health and safety. They must order the asbestos removal work to stop, investigate the cause, and implement controls to prevent further exposure.

See Table 1 for the complete list of actions and controls required at different asbestos levels.

Air monitoring action levels

Table 1: Air monitoring action levels and controls
Action levelActionControl

Less than 0.01 fibres/ml

Continue with control measures

No new control measures are necessary

At 0.01 fibres/ml or more than 0.01 fibres/ml but less than or equal to 0.02 fibres/ml

Review control measures

1. Review

Investigate the cause

2. Investigate

Implement controls to eliminate or minimise exposure and prevent further release

3. Implement

More than 0.02 fibres/ml

Stop removal work

1. Stop removal work

Notify Comcare by phone followed by fax or written statement that work has ceased and the results of the air monitoring

2. Notify Comcare

Conduct a thorough visual inspection of the enclosure (if used) and associated equipment in consultation with all workers involved with the removal work

3. Investigate the cause

Extend the isolated/barricaded area around the removal area/enclosure as far as reasonably practicable (until fibre levels are at or below 0.01 fibres/ml, wet wipe and vacuum the surrounding area, seal any identified leaks (for example with expandable foam or tape) and smoke test the enclosure until it is satisfactorily sealed.

4. Implement controls to eliminate or minimise exposure and prevent further release

Do not restart until fibre levels are at or below 0.01 fibres/ml

5. Do not restart removal work until further air monitoring is conducted

Duty to notify

The licensed asbestos removalist must notify Comcare.

The removalist will:

  • be licensed under the Commonwealth jurisdiction to carry out Class A (friable) or Class B (non-friable) asbestos removal work, or
  • have been granted an asbestos removal licence by a state or territory regulator to conduct asbestos removal work at a workplace of an Australian Government agency or statutory authority, or a self-insured licensee.

How to notify us

To notify us immediately:

Immediately means there must be no delay between becoming aware of the levels and notifying Comcare.

The person notifying Comcare should provide as much information as possible and attach a copy of the air monitoring report to any written notification.

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 impose strict timeframes for notifying Comcare of respirable asbestos fibre levels at more than 0.02 fibres/ml. Penalties apply.

Clearance inspection and certificate

A clearance inspection must be carried out and a clearance certificate issued.

Class A (friable) asbestos removal work requires a licensed asbestos assessor to undertake the clearance inspection and issue the clearance certificate.

Class B (non-friable) asbestos removal work only requires a competent person to undertake the clearance inspection and issue the clearance certificate.

A competent person means a person who has acquired through training or experience the knowledge and skills of relevant asbestos removal industry practice and holds:

  • a certification in relation to the specified VET course for asbestos assessor work, or
  • a tertiary qualification in occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, science, building, construction or environmental health.

Emergency demolition works involving asbestos notification

Comcare must immediately be notified in writing when an emergency has occurred that requires a structure or plant to be demolished that involves asbestos. The asbestos must have been fixed to or installed in the structure or plant before the emergency occurred.

A situation is considered to be an emergency when a structure or plant is structurally unsound, or collapse of the structure or plant is imminent.

Immediate means there must be no delay after becoming aware of the emergency and the need to demolish the structure or plant containing asbestos. Comcare must be notified before demolition works begin.

Duty to notify

Domestic premises

If the emergency has occurred at domestic premises, the company who is to carry out the demolition works must notify Comcare.

A workplace

If the emergency has occurred at a workplace other than domestic premises, the person with management or control of the workplace must notify Comcare. This is usually the asbestos removalist.

How to notify us immediately

To notify us immediately submit the Emergency Demolition Involving Asbestos Notification form (PDF, 204.3 KB) by:

The person completing the written notification should provide as much information as possible about:

  • the emergency
  • the demolition
  • the nature of the asbestos fixed to or installed in the structure or plant.

The WHS Regulations impose strict timeframes for notifying Comcare of emergency demolition involving asbestos. Notification must be given to Comcare in writing immediately after the duty holder becomes aware of the emergency, and before the demolition starts. Penalties apply.


More information

For more information, see:

See Notifications for other types of notifications including hazardous chemicals and lead risk.

If you are unsure about whether or how to submit a notification, you should email whs.help@comcare.gov.au. or call us on 1300 366 979.

Page last reviewed: 14 December 2020
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Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 02 Dec 2021

https://www.comcare.gov.au/safe-healthy-work/dust-conditions/asbestos-notifications