Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral widely used in building materials and other products in WA from 1921 to 1987.  The use of asbestos was phased out in building products during the 1980’s, and completely banned in 2003.  Asbestos was added to building products to increase their strength, durability, fire resistance and insulation properties.

The most common product used in residential properties was asbestos cement, which contained 10-15% asbestos.  These products pose little risk to health when they are in good condition and undisturbed.  However, homeowners must take precautions when removing the products, renovating or carrying out maintenance.

It is commonly found in:
  • cement roofs, eaves and fencing
  • cement wall sheeting and cladding
  • paper backing material on sheet linoleum
  • backing panels in meter boxes
  • textured paints – especially in wet areas
  • vinyl floor tiles
  • thermal insulation boards around fireplaces
  • gaskets and rope door seal in wood stoves
  • carpet underlay

Who Can Remove Asbestos?

The removal of more than 10 square metres of asbestos may only be carried out by people with an asbestos removal licence.

When removing smaller amounts, please read this guide to help manage the risks.

Asbestos Regulators

The following information can help direct your inquiry to the appropriate agency.

Agency

Relevant Area

WorkSafe

 

Regulates and audits all aspects of asbestos in workplaces, licenses asbestos removalists and conducts periodic audits of licensed persons.

Department of Education

Manages asbestos issues in school buildings and other facilities under the control of the Department. 

Housing Authority

Manages asbestos issues associated with its properties.

Department of Finance – Building Management and Works

Leads the planning and delivery of new government buildings, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, courts and police stations.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

Regulates and provides advice on the safe transport and disposal of asbestos materials.

Department of Health

 

Regulates and provides advice on the safe handling of asbestos materials in both the public and residential sectors.  Guidance is also provided on the management of asbestos contaminated soil.

 

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

Regulates safe asbestos practices in the resources industry.   

Local Government

 

The Town of Bassendean enforces the Department of Health asbestos regulatory requirements and provide advice on local asbestos issues.  Please refer to the Asbestos Information Sheet for more advice regarding asbestos.

Support

Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia

Phone: 1800 646 690 (national toll free) or 9344 4077

Australian Asbestos Network

The Cancer Council helpline provides information and support for people affected by cancer, health professionals and the community.

Phone: 13 11 20 for the cost of a local call.