Asbestos Sampling Procedure

IMPORTANT: A competent person should take the following steps to carry out sampling:

Step 1 – Preparation

  • Make sure no one else is in the vicinity when sampling is done

  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimise the spread of any released fibres

  • Turn off any fans if you’re inside. If outside, then sample on a non-windy day if possible

  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample

  • Collect the equipment you will need for sampling, including:

    • pliers, resealable plastic bags, disposable coveralls, waterproof sealant, plastic drop sheet, water spray bottle, P2 respirator, rubber gloves.


Step 2 – Taking the sample

  • Wear disposable gloves

  • Put on respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

  • Wear a pair of disposable coveralls

  • Lay down a plastic drop sheet to catch any loose material that may fall off while sampling

  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of asbestos fibres

  • Carefully cut a thumb nail piece from the entire depth of the material using the pliers

  • For fibre cement sheeting, take the sample from a corner edge or along an existing hole or crack

  • Place the small piece into the resealable plastic bag

  • Double bag the sample, include the date and location and an asbestos caution warning

  • Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it

  • Use a damp paper towel or rag to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled

  • Patch the sampled area with duct tape or similar to prevent fibre release.


Step 3 – Cleaning up

  • Send the sample to a NATA-accredited laboratory or one that is either approved or operated by the relevant regulator  

  • Seal the edges with waterproof sealant where the sample was taken

  • Carefully wrap up the plastic drop sheet with tape and then put this into another plastic rubbish bag

  • Wipe down the tools and equipment with a dampened rag

  • Place disposable gloves and coveralls into a rubbish bag, along with the damp rag and drop sheet

  • Seal plastic bag

  • Wash hands

  • Keep RPE on until clean-up is completed

  • Follow a decontamination procedure (personal washing) upon completion of the task.

  • Dispose of asbestos materials according to state or territory and local procedures


Samples smaller than this may not be sufficient for our analysts to make a determination; samples larger than this pose shipping, handling and storage problems and cost.

Samples received that do not conform with the above conditions will not be accepted or analysed. Examples of unacceptable practices are bare samples, samples in shopping bags, samples in envelopes, large samples in builder’s plastic or asbestos waste bags.

If you have any queries, please call the Laboratory Manager at one of our testing facilities


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