Asbestos is commonly referred to by three types:

• chrysotile ("white" asbestos - belonging to the serpentine group)

• crocidolite ("blue" asbestos - belonging to the amphibole group)

• amosite ("brown" or "grey" asbestos - belonging to the amphibole group)

Under the law, asbestos-containing materials (ACM’s) are divided into two types:

• bonded asbestos-containing material (bonded asbestos) contains a bonding compound reinforced with asbestos fibres

• friable asbestos-containing material (friable asbestos) is unbonded asbestos-containing material that, when dry, is or may become crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure.


Bonded asbestos can be found in products such as cement sheeting commonly used in building materials between 1940s to 1980s.

Other bonded asbestos products include:

  • Profiled sheets used on roofs and walls and flat sheets in flashings.
  • Imitation brick cladding.
  • Roof shingles.
  • Water or flue pipes.
  • Plaster patching compounds.
  • Textured paints.
  • Vinyl floor tiles.
  • Friction products such as brake shoes, disc pads, clutch housings or elevator brakes.

Asbestos Cement Products (A/C)

  • Tilux, A/C Sheet, O.R.G Surrounds, Vent Stacks, Compressed A/C Sheet, Telstra/Communications Pit, Arc Shield
  • Zelemite, Lebah and Ausbestos are Trade names of panels manufactured from an asbestos / resin composite and used in electrical applications. E.g. Meter/electrical panels includes industrial, commercial and residential meter / electrical panels. Where the age is believed to be prior 1988 are assumed to contain asbestos.

Other products: Millboard product (soft cardboard-like product) will be assumed to contain asbestos. Care should be taken to avoid disturbance of these products.


Ceramic Tile Underlay, Classic Weatherboard, Decorweave C.P., Fiesta Ceiling sheet, HardiBrace®, HardiFence® System, HardiFlex®, HardiFlex® Covermould, HardiFlex® Eaves Lining,, HardiFlex® Verge Strip, Hardiform™, HardiGlaze® Swirl, HardiPanel® Compressed, HardiPlank® Smooth, HardiPlank® Woodgrain, HardiPlank® Cross Cut, HardiScreen®, HardiTex® Base Sheet, Mine Stopping Sheet, New Villaboard® Lining. Old style Weatherboard, PanelClad® Sierra, PanelClad® Stucco, PanelClad® TextureLine, Panelock™, PineRidge®, PrimeLine® Heritage W/b, PrimeLine® Summit W/b, PrimeLine® Chamferboard W/b, Rough-Cut Weatherboard, Rusticated Weatherboard, Shingled Siding, Shingled Weatherboard, Super Six™, Versilux®, Villaboard®, Vinyl and Cork Underlay, Wunderlay™ Board, ComTex® Panel, Hardiwall™, HardiGlaze® Tile, HardiGlaze® Smooth, HardiGlaze® Premium, HardiGroove® Sheet, Exotec® Facade Panel, HardiRock®, Ezi-Grid®, CMX® Base Sheet, Linea® Weatherboards, Linea® Trim.

NOTE: This material safety data sheet applies only to products manufactured after 1985. Products carrying these names and manufactured before 1985 may contain asbestos. Safety information on pre 1985 products may be obtained in Australia by telephone: 1800-025-563

NOTE: - If any of the above products or materials are found to be present or are unable to be proven or disproved then the presence of asbestos containing materials in products should or will be presumed.

All of these products are cement based with an inclusion of approximately 5-10% by weight of asbestos fiber. James Hardie manufactured a range of products containing 25% of asbestos fibers (by weight) which is significantly more dangerous but may have only been compressed sheeting.

Generally A/C product is best left undisturbed but should be encapsulated i.e. sealed or painted. Do not use abrasive cleaning or preparation methods.

Asbestos Cement Sheeting Products

Asbestos cement is a mixture of asbestos fiber, inert sand, cellulose and cement binder, which is reinforced and gains its strength from the tensile properties of the asbestos fibers. Asbestos cement is used for building sheeting, rainwater guttering and downpipes, and for bigger pipes in water, irrigation and sewerage systems.

White asbestos was the predominant type of asbestos used when manufacturing asbestos cement products, although blue and brown asbestos were also used either alone or in mixtures.

Asbestos cement products typically contain 10-15 per cent asbestos by weight. All asbestos was removed in 1985. Any sheeting such as versilux and hardiflex sheeting where dated cannot be identified will be deemed to contain asbestos. Only by sampling can one be sure if these products do not contain asbestos.

Lino Tile/Sheet

Generally this product is of low risk unless damaged by fire or badly scuffed.

There are three control methods:

  • If the flooring is sealed with a flooring scalar, then the product is safe unless severe scuffing or burning occurs. Do not use heavy abrasive sanding for preparation.
  • Lay new flooring over the existing but ensure a register is maintained so that when demolition is required the contractors are made aware. It is far less hazardous to leave this product undisturbed but encapsulated.
  • Removal of flooring. Mechanical tile removers may be used.


Removal of bonded asbestos can only be performed by a holder of a new ‘B’ class license.

All friable asbestos can only be done by a holder of a new ‘A’ class license or a current certificate to perform asbestos removal work.


Disposal of all asbestos material and product must be at an approved landfall site.


  • Friable asbestos is easily crumbled or reduced to powder by hand.
  • Common forms of friable asbestos materials include:
  • Sprayed on fireproofing/soundproofing/thermal insulation.
  • Acoustic plaster soundproofing.
  • Thermal insulation ( not sprayed on)

All friable asbestos can only be done by a holder of a new ‘A’ class license or a current certificate to perform asbestos removal work.


Where the removal of asbestos materials is to be undertaken, these should only be performed by specialised and trained personnel. Untrained persons undertaking asbestos removal works most likely will use non approved and dangerous methods and equipment. This will most likely cause the release of asbestos fibres, resulting in severe health ramifications to themselves, the occupiers of the property and neighbouring properties. The use of vacuum cleaners not complying with Australian Standard 3544 will release asbestos fibres into the environment.

Remember always that cutting, drilling, sanding or disturbing of A/C products WILL RELEASE ASBESTOS FIBRES which will not only effect a worker performing the task by breathing in these fibers but also those present in the work area. It is imperative to read the Advisory Standard for A/C Sheeting before performing tasks involving this product. Always wear Personal Protective Equipment and use a wet clean up method except when cleaning electrical fittings or if live wires are present.


The Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and asbestos management code prohibit the use of certain tools and work methods when working with ACM as they can generate dangerous airborne asbestos fibres.

These prohibitions include the use of:

  • high-speed abrasive power and pneumatic tools
  • high-pressure water cleaners
  • compressed air or abrasive blasting
  • household vacuum cleaners even if they have a HEPA filter. Only vacuum cleaners specifically designed for safe work with asbestos may be used.

For full details of prohibited activities with asbestos refer to:- Chapter 8 – Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

This is a guide only. Any and all action in relation to asbestos and its management should be determined and governed in accordance with the relevant legislations.