Health and safety issues associated with the use and/or handling of asbestos is regulated in the ACT primarily through the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and their associated regulations.
Find out more about:
Concerned a property may have loose fill asbestos insulation? Find out more.
Types of asbestos
Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres which were used extensively in products due to their strength, insulating features and resistance to fire. The most common asbestos types used in Australia were:
- chrysotile (white asbestos)
- amosite (brown asbestos)
- crocidolite (blue asbestos)
Chrysotile was used until 2003 in products such as brake linings, paint and insulation.
Amosite and crocidolite were used until the mid-1980s, most commonly in building materials (e.g. asbestos-cement products, also known as 'fibro' and 'AC' sheeting).
What is Mr Fluffy loose fill asbestos insulation?
Loose fill asbestos insulation is finely crushed asbestos. Up to two million fibres can be found under microscope on the sample size of a 50-cent piece.
It was blown into roof spaces in Canberra homes between 1968 and 1979. Over time this material has migrated to other areas such as wall-cavities, underfloor spaces, cupboards, heating and cooling ducts and vents, living areas and bedrooms.
Identifying properties affected by loose fill asbestos insulation
Every known house affected by loose fill asbestos insulation has received a free Asbestos Assessment Report which:
- identifies the location, type and condition of the loose fill asbestos in relation to the premises
- assesses the risk resulting from the identified asbestos
- recommends action to be undertaken to manage the asbestos in the short term
Homes affected by loose fill asbestos insulation are required by law to have a safety tag (warning sticker) displayed at the electrical meter box and switch board.
Spot checks by Worksafe ACT Inspectors are being undertaken to ensure affected properties are tagged.
Asbestos Management Plan
Visiting an affected property
If you are a tradesperson, care worker or visitor, before visiting a residential property you should:
- check the Register to see if it is a Mr Fluffy house and if it has a compliant Asbestos Management Plan
- review the Asbestos Management Plan to understand any risks associated with the work you are doing
- contact WorkSafe ACT if you have any questions or concerns
From 1 July 2020, owners/residents of an affected property are required to display the Asbestos Management Plan report in a case installed at or near the main entrance of the property.
Do not proceed with any work unless you have the appropriate training, equipment and supervision. In particular, do not undertake any work that may penetrate or expose a wall, floor, or ceiling cavity and do not enter the ceiling space or subfloor without the advice and supervision of a Class A licensed asbestos assessor. Visit WorkSafe ACT for more information.
If you are unsure of your obligations do not undertake work on the home and contact a licensed asbestos assessor for advice.
It is important to understand the health risks.
Learn more about your responsibilities when visiting an affected property.
Development and building approvals
When you rebuild on a surrendered block that was formerly part of the Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme and on the Register, the work is subject to the normal development application (DA) processes overseen and approved by the Planning and Land Authority of the ACT.
Find out more about rebuilding.
Restrictions on standing affected properties
From 1 July 2020, development and building works on affected properties will be limited to:
- works that are essential for health, safety or reasonable living conditions or
- works associated with the demolition, including asbestos removal and structural demolition of the affected property
Find out more about homeowner and occupier responsibilities.
Find out more about:
- affected properties
- concerned about asbestos?
- list of licensed construction professionals (including asbestos assessors and removalists)
- ACT Asbestos Health Study (ANU)
- National Asbestos Exposure Register
Contact us for more information.