We do not advise anyone who is inexperienced with sampling asbestos containing materials to collect samples. Asbestos is hazardous, and requires a lot of care when being handled.
However, we are aware that there is occasionally interest in owners or occupiers of buildings to submit a sample of a building material to check whether it contains asbestos without involving a professional sampler. We have prepared this page, and a related Technical Note, to assist with this. Once again, please note that our advice is always to involve a suitably experienced person in sample collection to manage risk when handling asbestos containing materials.
Safe Asbestos Sampling
WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe NZ) released the Approved Code of Practice for Management and Removal of Asbestos in 2016. This sets out WorkSafe NZ expectations about how to comply with the asbestos health and safety law, including the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. More information can be found on the WorkSafe NZ website: www.worksafe.govt.nz
Prior to conducting any renovations or demolition works on a building or site, it is vital that you have an understanding of the potential hazards located there. Any material suspected of containing asbestos fibres (which may include soil around the building) should be analysed at an IANZ accredited laboratory. This simple test can prevent asbestos exposure, along with reducing risk of the building becoming contaminated while building work is taking place which could require expensive decontamination. Due to the health risks associated with breathing in airborne asbestos fibres, the Approved Code of Practice states that only a competent person should take the samples (Clause 6.10 Management and Removal of Asbestos Approved Code of Practice) to minimise personal exposure, dust generation and contamination of surrounding areas. If at any time there is a potential for safety to be compromised, all work should cease immediately and contact a trained professional for advice and assistance.
Asbestos Sampling Guide
We have prepared a Technical Note for those who are suspicious about whether particular pieces of building material contain asbestos, and wish to collect a sample to submit for analysis. This Technical Note can be accessed at the following link:
Never attempt to sample lagging or insulation. This material is unstable and therefore represents a high risk of contaminating the area around it as well as to the sampler. It must be handled by a trained professional.