22 Feb 2018

WorkSafe NZ's recent statement on asbestos removal worker qualification requirements was a clarification as their documentation had contained incorrect and misleading information. As the statement is a little unclear, we have clarified with WorkSafe NZ that this refers to the certification requirements of the workers, not the licence requirements of the PCBU they work under.

Certification for undertaking Class A work is gained through the educational unit standard 29766, and for undertaking Class B work is gained through the educational unit standard 29765. Under transitional matters, the old Certificate of Competence holders can continue to remove the appropriate asbestos until their certificates expire up to 4 April 2018.  After this date workers must have the correct certification, although WorkSafe have allowed an extension for those without the unit standard for Class B work of 4 accumulated weeks' work in a given year.

The crux of the issue is that previously WorkSafe had suggested that you were able to do Class B work if you held the Class A unit standard. This is not now correct for certification, but confusingly was always correct for Licence holders [refer Regulation 56 of the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 (Reprint as at 15 May 2017)].

To clarify, excluding non-licence applications, the new interpretation for who can remove asbestos is as follows:

Non-friable asbestos - any quantity, or ACM and related ACD

  • PCBU License - Class A or Class B
  • Worker Certification - Class B

Friable asbestos, any quantity, or related ACM or ACD

  • PCBU License - Class A
  • Worker Certification - Class A

Note, no licence is required under the Regulations for ≤10m² (cumulative for site) of non-friable asbestos or ACM, and related or minor ACD.

Abbreviations and definitions

  • ACD Asbestos containing dust or debris (restricted by type of asbestos it comes from)
  • ACM Asbestos containing material (usually asbestos bound into a composite material)
  • Friable Asbestos that can easily be crumbled in the hand, under ordinary dry conditions
  • Non-friable: Asbestos that is not friable

The Masterspec section 2123 ASBESTOS REMOVAL (Standard, Services, Interiors, Struc & Civil) has been updated to reflect this change in interpretation.


Management and Removal of Asbestos

WorkSafe NZ statement - Asbestos removal worker training clarification

Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016