How is asbestos dealt with?

A key aspect of dealing with earthquake waste is the management of damaged buildings that are constructed with asbestos. Asbestos is a building material that was popular in New Zealand between 1940 and 1990.

Asbestos risks

Asbestos is a significant health hazard when airborne particles are inhaled.

Fibres may become airborne during the demolition of earthquake-damaged buildings or during renovations or repairs.

Asbestos is safe if left intact and undisturbed.

Intensive planning and preparation is required before its removal.

What are we doing?

We want to ensure that all asbestos handling and disposal is not only legal but also safe for our people and the environment now, and in the future.

We all acknowledge that the proactive identification of asbestos is a key to its safe management.

Our focus is identifying instances of illegal or unsafe disposal of asbestos and taking enforcement action when illegal waste disposal occurs.

We work closely with WorkSafe NZ, and other agencies in ensuring proper identification, safe handling, good management, and legal disposal of asbestos.

Collaboratively, we are working towards:

  • Safe asbestos disposal options and finding ways of making it easier and economical to comply.
  • Better definition of the trigger levels for asbestos in soil in relation to the National Environmental Standard of Contaminants in soil.

Who to contact?

WorkSafe NZ administers the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, New Zealand’s workplace health and safety law. The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 sit under the Act, and are also administered by Worksafe NZ.

Worksafe NZ’s website provides a comprehensive guide for identifying, working with, and disposing of asbestos. It also covers licensing and information for home owners and landlords.

For more information on the risks to human health associated with asbestos, visit the Ministry of Health.