Asbestos Explained

/ Legislation and your duties

This section briefly describes some of the duties imposed on PCBUs by the Health and safety at work (asbestos) regulations 2016. (Link)

The 2016 regulations place certain duties on People Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs). This includes: employers, principals and people in control of a place of work. The term PCBU can be misleading, and create confusion as to who the duties fall to. 
If you are unsure if you are a PCBU ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I have control of a work site?
  2. Am I a sole trader?
  3. Do I make decicions about health and safety, or am i responsible for allocating funds to health and safety?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you are likely to be a PCBU. Although this does not include home occupiers employing contractors to work around their home.




The following sections are from the Health and Safety at work (asbestos) regulations 2016.

Section 10 - Duty to identify asbestos

'A PCBU with management or control of a workplace who knows or ought reasonably to know that there is a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres in the workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all asbestos or ACM giving rise to the risk at the workplace is identified.'

At Asbestos Survey Group we treat any property built before 2000 as potentially containing asbestos products. This means that as a PCBU in control of a workplace built before 2000 you have a duty to ensure any potentially hazardous asbestos products are identified. The easiest way to achieve this is to have an asbestos survey completed at your workplace, this will produce an asbestos register which clearly identifies all hazardous asbestos products across the premises.

Section 11 - Duty to analyse samples

'If a PCBU with management or control of a workplace arranges for analysis (of asbestos sample), the PCBU must ensure that the sample is analysed by an accredited laboratory'

All samples taken by ASG are analysed at an independent IANZ accredited laboratory. Documentation proving this can be provided on request.

Section 12 - Duty to ensure presence and location of asbestos indicated

'A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure that the presence and location of asbestos or ACM identified at the workplace under regulation 10 are clearly indicated'

Having a completed asbestos survey and register, along with a site plan detailing sample locations on site and made available for anyone working is a very good start to fulfilling this regulation. At ASG we also put stickers on the materials we have sampled or presumed to be asbestos.

Section 9 - Duty relating to exposure to airborne asbestos at workplace

'A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure that the airborne contamination standard for asbestos is not exceeded at the workplace'

If you have discovered asbestos at the workplace, it has a potential to be releasing respirable fibres into the atmosphere, this is particularly true for badly damaged or deteriorated asbestos products. Air monitors can be used to measure the level of asbestos in the atmosphere, which fulfills this duty, and also helps to give workers peace of mind.


The following sections are also from the Health and Safety at work (asbestos) regulations 2016, but do not come into effect until the 4th of April 2018.

Section 13 - Duty to prepare asbestos Management Plan

'A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure that a written plan (an asbestos management plan) for the workplace is prepared'

This regulation applies to those PCBUs who have identified asbestos at the workplace. they must ahve a written plan detailing:
  • the identification of asbestos
  • decisions and reasons for decisions, about the management of the risk arising from asbestos at the workplace
  • Procedures for detailing incidents or emergencies involving asbestos at the workplace
  • the workers who carry out work potentially disturbing asbestos, including: Training provided; roles and responsibilities; and health monitoring


Section 14 - Duty to review asbestos management plan

'A PCBU with management or control of a workplace that has an asbestos managment plan must ensure that the plan is reviewed and, if neccissary, revised if-
  1. There is a review of a control measure
  2. Asbestos is removed from, or disturbed, sealed, or enclosed at, the workplace
  3. The plan is no longer adequate for managing the risk arising from asbestos or ACM at the workplace
  4. A representative requests a review
  5. 5 years have passed since the plan was last reviewed'