Asbestos is a hazardous material that poses severe health risks when disturbed. Due to its dangerous nature, asbestos removal work must comply with strict regulations to ensure the safety of both workers and the general public. One crucial aspect of asbestos removal is obtaining a clearance certificate. But does this certificate need to be issued by an independent asbestos assessor? In this article, we will explore the significance of asbestos clearance certificates and the role of independent assessors in the certification process.
What is an Asbestos Clearance Certificate?
A clearance certificate is a crucial document issued in writing by a licensed asbestos assessor or a competent person after the completion of licensed asbestos removal work. It proves that the area in question is safe for re-occupation and free from visible asbestos contamination. This certificate is a vital step in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals who may come into contact with the previously asbestos-contaminated area.
When is a Clearance Inspection Required?
A clearance inspection is mandatory whenever licensed asbestos removal work is commissioned in a workplace. The level of asbestos removal work determines the type of licence required, either a class A asbestos removal licence or a class B asbestos removal licence.
Class A asbestos removal licences are necessary to remove friable asbestos or dust or debris contaminated with asbestos. On the other hand, a class B asbestos removal licence is required to remove areas of non-friable asbestos or asbestos-containing material (ACM) exceeding 10 square metres.
Responsibility for Clearance Inspection
The responsibility for ensuring that a clearance inspection is conducted falls upon the person who commissions the asbestos removal work, except for domestic premises, where the licensed asbestos removalist assumes this responsibility.
Is an assessor needed for Clearance Inspections and to Issue an Asbestos Clearance Certificate?
Class A Asbestos Removal Work: An independent licensed asbestos assessor must conduct the clearance inspection for class A asbestos removal work. Independence is a crucial criterion, meaning the assessor cannot be involved in the asbestos removal or in a business associated with asbestos removal. A licensed asbestos assessor must possess relevant training, experience, and certification in CPCCDE5001 to conduct air monitoring and clearance inspections following asbestos removal work.
Class B Asbestos Removal Work: An independent competent person must carry out the clearance inspection in class B asbestos removal work. Similar to class A, the qualified person must not have been involved in the asbestos removal process. The competent person should have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills through training or experience and hold either certification in CPCCDE5001 or CPCCDE3014/CPCCDE3015, or a relevant tertiary qualification.
It is important to note that assessors or competent persons must be independent, although exemptions may be sought in certain circumstances.
Competent persons conducting clearance inspections following class B asbestos removal work must ensure that there is no visible asbestos contamination in the area. Failure to do so may result in enforcement actions against them. A new, completely independent competent person must conduct a clearance inspection in such cases. The licensed removalist cannot seek reimbursement for cleanup costs from the property owner or occupier.
Since January 1, 2015, the WHS Regulation mandates that an independent competent person conduct clearance inspections for class B asbestos removal work. As mentioned earlier, the competent person should have the necessary training, qualifications, and experience.
To remove less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos or following asbestos-related work, a written clearance certificate is not required by the WHS Regulation. However, decontamination of dust and debris remains essential. The person responsible for checking the area should have a solid understanding of the asbestos removal industry, asbestos management code, and asbestos removal code, as well as the ability to identify asbestos-containing materials and thoroughly inspect the area for suspected materials.
Asbestos clearance certificates are critical in ensuring the safety of spaces where asbestos removal work has been carried out. Choosing an independent assessor or competent person for clearance inspections is crucial in upholding safety standards and protecting the health of all individuals who may come into contact with these areas. Adhering to the specified qualifications and regulations is imperative for the successful issuance of a clearance certificate.