Asbestos-related work

Work involving asbestos is prohibited by the Asbestos Regulations, except for certain specified activities. Find out what work you are allowed to do with asbestos.

Introduction

Work involving asbestos is prohibited by the Asbestos Regulations, except for certain specified activities. The Asbestos Regulations regulate the type of work people can do with asbestos, asbestos containing material (ACM) and asbestos-contaminated dust or debris (ACD).

Working with asbestos and ACM is prohibited

Generally, working with asbestos in New Zealand is prohibited.

Prohibited work includes:

  • manufacturing products containing asbestos
  • supplying products containing asbestos or ACM
  • storing asbestos or ACM
  • using asbestos or ACM
  • installing asbestos or ACM
  • re-using and recycling asbestos or ACM
  • transporting asbestos or ACM (except for disposal).

Note: The prohibition on supplying asbestos or ACM also prohibits the sale of asbestos or ACM.

Permitted work involving asbestos

Specified types of work permitted under the Asbestos Regulations(external link) are:

  1. genuine research and analysis
  2. sampling and identifying asbestos in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  3. removing or disposing of asbestos or ACM, including demolition, in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  4. transporting and disposing of asbestos and asbestos waste in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  5. demonstrations, education or practical training involving asbestos or ACM
  6. fire-fighting
  7. responding to an emergency
  8. maintenance and servicing work involving ACM in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  9. rectifying work to ACM in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  10. displaying, or preparing or maintaining for display, asbestos artefacts or things that include asbestos or ACM
  11. work that disturbs asbestos during mining operations that extract or explore for minerals other than asbestos
  12. laundering asbestos-contaminated clothing in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations
  13. asbestos-related work that is subject to a method approved by WorkSafe
  14. work involving naturally occurring asbestos that is managed with an asbestos management plan
  15. work involving asbestos-contaminated soil, where the soil doesn’t contain a quantity of ACM or friable asbestos likely to lead to airborne asbestos contamination that exceeds trace level.

Approved methods for managing asbestos risks

WorkSafe may approve a method for managing risks associated with asbestos. Work carried out under an approved method is permitted as asbestos-related work, even though it will not be specifically mentioned in the Asbestos Regulations.

Asbestos approved methods

Naturally occuring asbestos

Managing naturally occurring asbestos with an asbestos management plan is permitted by the Asbestos Regulations. 

Asbestos-contaminated soil

Work involving asbestos-contaminated soil is permitted either as asbestos-related work or asbestos removal work.

However it is only allowed to be considered asbestos-related work if a competent person (usually a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner) has determined that removal will not lead to airborne asbestos contamination above trace level.

If the amount of ACM or friable asbestos in the soil is likely to lead to airborne asbestos contamination above trace level, the only work that may be carried out is asbestos removal work.

To find out about trace-level, read section five of the approved code of practice management and removal of asbestos