Asbestos products are still found in many buildings and are not dangerous if kept in good condition. However, if an asbestos product is broken or disturbed in any way, it is very hazardous. The material can cause fatal diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos materials are either bonded (tightly bound) or friable (loosely bound).
Bonded asbestos materials are commonly found in houses and often known as ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Asbestos containing materials that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand when dry. Friable asbestos has a much greater risk to health as the fibres can easily become airborne if damaged
Friable asbestos was mostly used in commercial and industrial settings for fire-proofing, sound-proofing and insulation. Asbestos containing materials in which the asbestos is firmly bonded with other materials. These materials can still become friable asbestos if broken or damaged.
How to Handle, Remove and Dispose of Asbestos
If you suspect you have asbestos in your building, get it checked by a qualified professional.
If you are removing more than 10 square metres of bonded (non-friable) asbestos material, you must by law hire a Class B licensed removalist.
You will not require a certificate if you are removing less than 10 square metres of non-friable materials containing asbestos. However, you will still need to follow safe work procedures and safety precautions to minimise asbestos fibers getting into the air. For more information and guidance on safe work procedures and safety precautions refer to Asbestos: a guide for minor renovation.
Friable asbestos removal - a Class A licensed removalist must be contracted when removing any friable asbestos. However, Livingstone Shire Council recommends hiring a licensed removalist, regardless of the amount of asbestos in your building. This will help prevent any health risks caused from improperly handling asbestos.
WorkSafe QLD will help you find the right professional. It is also where you can apply for the necessary approval for the demolition and removal of asbestos.
Asbestos waste must be taken to a certified waste facility – Asbestos is a regulated waste and cannot be disposed of in rubbish bins, recycling bins or at Council’s transfer stations. Not all landfills can accept asbestos waste. Visit our waste collection and management page for information on disposal of asbestos in Livingstone Shire council and download this fact sheet removal and transport of asbestos containing material.
Further information and practical guidance for homeowners/renovators is available at www.asbestos.qld.gov.au or contact 13 74 68
Local Government Responsibility
Council has an important role to protect the community from any exposure to asbestos. Local government are also responsible for managing and responding to asbestos incidents in non-workplace settings (e.g. domestic premises) under public health legislation
Council will respond to complaints and enquiries about:
- derelict properties
- general asbestos safety issues
- illegal dumping of asbestos
- unsafe handling, removal or transport of asbestos at a residential property conducted by a homeowner, occupant or owner-builder
Any complaints and enquiries regarding a business, contractor or a person at a commercial premises should be directed to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland or contact on 1300 362 128.
Local government has certain obligations and responsibilities under the Public Health Act 2005 and Environmental Protection Act 1994. Council may, where unsafe works associated with asbestos material are proven, serve notices and orders on a person or company carrying out the works. Penalties of up to 100 Penalty Units may apply.