News & Insights

New Asbestos Notices & Fines in Model WHS Act Amendment

New Asbestos Notices & Fines in Model WHS Act Amendment

16 March 2020

In Australia, the total ban on manufacture, use or importation of asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACMs) was effected on 31 December 2003. Despite this, the material continues to be found in workplaces.

Addressing this, Safe Work Australia has announced that the model WHS Act has been amended, bringing changes that have implications for a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU, or employer).

The amendments make it mandatory for a regulator to issue a ‘prohibited asbestos notice’ if they believe that a workplace contains prohibited asbestos.

These notices will specify a period of compliance that is considered reasonable based on current circumstances. They will detail measures that must be taken within this period in order to address the prohibited asbestos. The ideal outcome of immediate removal may not always be practicable, so this flexibility for the regulator to determine these measures is important.

In some circumstances, multiple notices can be issues to a workplace, and failure to comply will result in fines of up to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organisations.

For more information, read the announcement from Safe Work Australia and the Explanatory Memorandum.


For assistance, contact Greencap's Asbestos & Hazardous Materials team.