What is Asbestos?

16 September 2019

What is Asbestos?

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What is Asbestos and how can it affect me?

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos is a serious issue for Australia and will continue to be so for many years, despite the ban on new uses of asbestos in 2003.

What is asbestos?


Asbestos is the name for a group of minerals that were used to manufacture a wide range of products including many that were used in Australian buildings until the mid-late 1980s. Exposure to asbestos fibres may cause diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.


Asbestos is banned!


Use of asbestos is banned in Australia. You must not import, manufacture, supply, sell, use or reuse asbestos or products that contain asbestos. The asbestos ban came into force at the end of 2003. However, some materials containing asbestos may inadvertently be imported. Under the law there are duties and requirements for managing asbestos in workplaces, working with asbestos and removing asbestos.


Managing asbestos in the workplace


Buildings and products from before 2004 may still contain asbestos. Until the 1980s it was manufactured, sold and used in various forms like:

  • Vinyl floors
  • Cement roof sheeting and wall lining
  • Fences
  • Lagging and jointing material

Removing asbestos

In most cases, asbestos removal must be done by a licensed removalist. Unlicensed removal of limited amounts of non-friable asbestos is permitted under certain circumstances. Licensed removalists must comply with requirements when removing asbestos. They also must notify WorkSafe when removing asbestos.

For more information about Asbestos, contact Veritas RSW.