Asbestos Rules Are Changing

18 Feb 2016

Are you running a business (for example, building, roofing, plumbing or demolition), with workers who remove asbestos as part of their job? Here's a heads-up about changes to asbestos-related work next year. 
Asbestos regulations are being updated to bring New Zealand into line with other countries. With more than 170 New Zealand workers dying each year from asbestos-related diseases, our work practices need to improve.

Under the new regulations, coming in on 4 April 2016, removing more than 10m2 of bonded asbestos (non-friable) in one job will require a licence. The licence will be issued by government health and safety agency WorkSafe New Zealand. Licences cannot be issued until 4 April, but WorkSafe is interested in hearing from potential licence holders now. This will help speed up the licensing process for your business next year.

New nationwide licensing system for asbestos removal
The new licensing system for asbestos related work is aimed at ensuring people working with asbestos have the necessary skills and experience to keep themselves, and others, safe.

New Licences   What asbestos can be removed?   Who will need this licence?
Class B   Any amount of non-friable (bonded) asbestos or asbestos containing material

Asbestos contaminated dust or debris (ACD) associated with removing any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM

  This is the licence you will need if you are removing more than 10m2 asbestos.
Class A   Any type or quantity of asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM) including:
  • Any amount of friable asbestos or ACM
  • Any amount of asbestos
  This is the licence you will need if you are removing any amount of friable (powdery or has potential to become powdery) asbestos. 
No licence required   Up to and including 10m2of non-friable asbestos or ACD associated with the removal of that amount of non-friable asbestos, cumulatively over the course of the removal project. ACD that is not associated with the removal of friable or non-friable asbestos and is only a minor contamination.    


What do I need to do?

Please register your interest with WorkSafe if your business is likely to require a 'Class B asbestos licence' next year. (We don't need to know about Class A licenses yet). You can register using the registration form on our website.

Find out more about the new rules for work involving asbestos, including indicative licensing fees, at

I have a Certificate of Competence for restricted asbestos work. What do I need to do?

If you have a current Certificate of Competence, you don't need to do anything yet. Your certificate will allow you to work under the new asbestos regulations (under the categories listed on your certificate), until your certificate expires. At that point you will need to apply for one of the new licences or to work on another business's licence.
WorkSafe will be writing to all Certificate of Competence holders about the new regulations in November.

Asbestos may be found in any of the following places:

  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • External cladding and eaves
  • Interior walls and finishes
  • Floors
  • Insulation and pipes
  • Flues and seals on wood burners
  • Fuse boards
  • Fences
  • Excavations (pipes)

Find more information: