Asbestos Sampling Procedure

Asbestos Sampling Procedure

As per Safe Work Australia, Code of Practice, How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace, Appendix B, 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.
  • 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, labelled heavy duty plastic (200 µm polyethylene) asbestos waste disposal bags
    • 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 thumbnail 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 the smallest possible piece of duct tape to prevent fibre release.
  • Send the sample to a NATA-accredited laboratory or one that is either approved or operated by the relevant regulator


Step 3 – Cleaning up

  • Seal the edges with waterproof sealant where the sample was taken. 
  • Carefully wrap up the plastic drop sheet with adhesive (cloth or duct) tape and then put this into a labelled heavy duty plastic asbestos waste disposal bag.
  • Wipe down the tools and equipment with a dampened rag.
  • Place disposable gloves and coveralls into labelled heavy duty plastic asbestos waste disposal bag, along with the damp rag and drop sheet. 
  • Seal the plastic bag and then place it in another labelled heavy duty plastic asbestos waste disposal bag (i.e. double bag).
  • Wash hands.
  • Keep RPE on until clean-up is completed.
  • Follow a decontamination procedure (personal washing) and wash RPE upon completion of the task.
  • Store non-disposable RPE in a sealed and labelled container or dispose of the RPE as asbestos waste.
  • Dispose of asbestos materials according to state or territory regulations



Step 4 – Sending the Sample

Small quantities of asbestos packaged appropriately are exempt from Dangerous Goods rules – as long as they comply with the following packaging requirements

  • Sample double-bagged then wrapped in two layers of 200um plastic
  • Placed inside a cardboard box or sandwiched between two layers of cardboard
  • Package labelled as “Sample for Testing”
  • Expressed-posted of Parcel-posted only
  • Package to be kept under 1kg 




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.



Submitting a Sample

Click the Sample Analysis "Download Form" links below to download the form for residential and direct laboratory customers submitting bulk samples to our testing facilities. If you are a larger client or you have an account with us, please contact the Laboratory in your state to obtain a quote on sample analysis.


Fill in the form if you are intending to bring a sample into any of our labs for testing. If you are a larger client or a client who already has an account with us, please contact the lab manager in your state to obtain a quote on sample analysis.