February 2016: Getting ready for asbestos regulations

Welcome to this update aimed at helping your business get ready for day one of the new asbestos regulatory regime on 4 April 2016. The asbestos regulations (Health and Safety at Work Asbestos Regulations) are not yet finalised, which means some information could still change.

Register your business now if you’ll require an asbestos removal licence

Does your business work on buildings constructed before the late 1990s? Chances are you’re removing material with asbestos in it.

Your business will require an asbestos removal licence from 4 April 2016 in order to remove:

  • any amount of friable asbestos, or
  • more than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos over the course of the project for the site.

This includes removal of asbestos or asbestos containing materials in building, plumbing, flooring, electrical, demolition or roofing work. 

Register with WorkSafe now to make sure you know how and when to apply for your new licence

Please note: A registration is not a licence application. Registration will ensure WorkSafe sends your business up-to-date information on the requirements of the new regulations, including when and how you can apply for a licence.

Find out more about the new licences

Six month exemption for businesses applying for Class B licence

To allow businesses to continue working with asbestos while their licence application is completed, businesses are permitted to continue removing non-friable asbestos from 4 April 2016 if they have –

  • applied for a Class B asbestos removal licence with WorkSafe, and
  • use dust control equipment for any power tools or other equipment that may release dust during removal work.

This permission is only available for six months (until 4 October 2016) or until a licencing decision is confirmed; whichever comes first.

New and renewed Certificate of Competence dates

Due to the new asbestos regulations, WorkSafe will not be able to issue or renew Certificates of Competence for asbestos removal from 4 April this year.

If you wish to renew your Certificate of Competence before 4 April 2016, please ensure you apply for the renewal by 18 March 2016. This is to make sure WorkSafe New Zealand can process your application in time.

After 18 March, we cannot guarantee that renewal applications will be issued due to time constraints.

Applications for a brand new Certificate of Competence for asbestos removal will need to be received by WorkSafe by 29 February 2016.

Did you know?

A current Certificate of Competence for asbestos removal (as at 4 April 2016) can be used as an asbestos removal licence until its expiry (for the categories listed on it). It can also be used to act as a Supervisor for asbestos removal. Again, only for the categories listed on the Certificate.

Testing of asbestos in IANZ labs

Under the new regulations only accredited laboratories can be used for the analysis of asbestos samples. See Laboratory testing for more information.

New asbestos materials online

Now available from our website:

You can also find other asbestos fact sheets and interim guidance for working with asbestos. These publications are useful references but have not been updated to include information on the new regulations.

Asbestos removal licensing guide for applicants  (PDF 248 KB)

Frequently asked questions

Q. Will the new regulations affect the chemical cleaning of roofs with asbestos in them?

A. The cleaning of roofs with asbestos in them will still be allowed under the new regulations.

Q. How does asbestos contaminated soil fit into the new asbestos removal licensing regime?

A. The Government intends to consult further on soil contamination. The new regulations will be amended as necessary following this consultation.

Q. How do I tell the difference between friable and non-friable asbestos?

A. If you suspect the material is asbestos but don’t know, you should get a sample tested. If a lab is taking a sample you can ask them for an opinion on the friability of the material.

Friable means asbestos in a powder form or able to be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.

Non-friable means asbestos that is not in a powder form or cannot be crumbled. pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. For example, an asbestos cement sheet in good condition.

Have a question?

Call us on 0800 030 040.