Handling Asbestos

Most bonded asbestos products are relatively safe, as long as they are undamaged. Note that products containing unbonded asbestos such as asbestos insulation are unsafe even in the undamaged stage because the fibre is loose.

 

It is when asbestos materials are degraded, broken, or otherwise disturbed through handling, that they can pose a hazard. The table below is a rough guide of how to treat asbestos in different stages of disrepair.

 Asbestos Disturbed   Poor Condition   Moderate Condition   Good Condition 
  • Should be removed immediately
  • The site should have
    warning signage and
    be totally secured until removal is compelte
  • Should be removed
  • Should be repaired
    and contained.
  • Should be checked
    regularly for further
    damage.
  • Anyone working or
    moving near the area should be informed to avoid the
    potential of further disruption and damage.
  • Safe to be left.
  • Should be checked regularly.
  • Anyone working near the asbestos should be alerted to it.

 

Source: Adapted from Health and Safety Executive UK

Click here for Australian federal and state/territory resources on handling asbestos.
Click here to view a comprehensive list of documents supplied by Safework Australia. You will need to type ‘asbestos’ into the search box.