Asbestos Glossary: 10 Terms You Should Know

Asbestos Identification

There’s no doubt that you know what asbestos is, as well as how dangerous it is and its impact on human health. However, when it comes to asbestos identification and other services like asbestos removal and testing, there are a number of important terms to be aware of that you might not know. That’s why we have put together this glossary of ten terms that you should be familiar with when it comes to asbestos. Keep reading to brush up on your asbestos knowledge, and discover where to go for comprehensive and professional asbestos-related services in Melbourne.


According to the Victorian Government Asbestos website, the below definition applies to asbestos:

‘The asbestiform varieties of mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine or amphibole groups of rock-forming materials, including:

  1. Actinolite asbestos
  2. Anthophyllite asbestos
  3. Chrysotile (“white asbestos”)
  4. Crocidolite (“blue asbestos”)
  5. Grunerite asbestos (or amosite) (“brown asbestos)
  6. Tremolite asbestos

Asbestos can also be any material or object which contains one or more of the mineral silicates listed above. These can be naturally occurring, or manufactured.

Asbestos Containing Materials

Any material or thing that contains asbestos as part of its design. Further, a ‘material’ or ‘thing’ may also be referred to as asbestos ‘products’ or ‘applications’. These terms may be used interchangeably.

Para-occupational Air Monitoring

According to the  Victorian Government Asbestos website The OHS Regulations define para-occupational air monitoring as: ‘A procedure by which air is sampled to estimate the airborne asbestos fibre concentration in the occupational environment’.

These samples are taken at fixed locations, generally between 1 and 2 metres above the floor level. This air monitoring must be carried out for the entire duration of a Class A asbestos removal job. Once the Class A removal work has been completed, para-occupational air monitoring is also required before the clearance certificate can be provided.

Asbestos-Contaminated Soil

Asbestos-contaminated soil refers to asbestos-containing material (ACM) that can be found buried in the soil. This can be soil on domestic or business properties, and it must be treated as a serious issue either way. The asbestos containing material could be present in soil because of improper asbestos removal following a demolition. It could also be the case that asbestos-contaminated soil was used, knowingly, or unknowingly, as top-soil, for instance.

It is illegal to supply, store, sell, use, re-use, or transport asbestos-contaminated soil. The exception to this is if all visible asbestos-containing material has been removed ‘so far as is reasonably practicable by the person proposing to undertake such activities’.

It is essential that the removal of the visible asbestos-contaminated material from the contaminated soil is carried out under the same stringent rules and regulations of any other asbestos removal.

Asbestos Register

An asbestos register must be created when asbestos is identified in a workplace. It is critical that the register is kept current and up to date. It is also essential that the person who manages or controls the workplace provides a copy of the asbestos register to the following people:

  • Employers or self-employed people whose business is located at the workplace where asbestos has been located
  • Asbestos licence holder/s that have been engaged to complete the asbestos removal work
  • Others that are required to be kept informed under OHS regulations


Asbestos material is considered friable when the material, when dry, can be:

Non-Friable (bonded) Asbestos

Asbestos-containing material that is non-friable. This can include asbestos fibres that have been reinforced using a bonding compound.

It is also important to note that non-friable asbestos can become friable through damage, or through deterioration.


NATA stands for the National Association of Testing Authority (Australia). A NATA Accredited Asbestos Fibre Counting and Identification Laboratory, like that of Alpha Environmental, can help you with all your asbestos testing and identification needs.

These can include:

  • Asbestos Fibre Count
  • Synthetic Mineral Fibre (SMF) Count
  • Asbestos Identification in Bulk and Non-Homogenous Samples (such as soil, dust, and more)

Asbestos Waste

The OHS Regulations define asbestos waste as:

‘Asbestos removed and disposable items used during asbestos removal work or asbestos-related activities’. This includes things like plastic sheeting, disposable personal protective clothing and equipment used during removal, as well as tools used for the removal, too.

Asbestos Management

Asbestos Management refers to preventing people from being exposed to airborne asbestos fibres. This means that the asbestos must be identified, the risk of exposure assessed, and then measures must be implemented that will minimise or eliminate the risks of the asbestos fibres becoming airborne.

Do You Need Asbestos Identification, Sampling or Testing?

When it comes to asbestos testing and management services, look no further than Alpha Environmental. As specialists in environmental and occupational hygiene solutions, we are here to take care of your home or workplace and give you peace of mind when it comes to asbestos. We provide comprehensive asbestos-related services, including asbestos identification and asbestos management.

If you are concerned about asbestos, contact us at 1300 039 181, or fill out our online contact form and we will happy to assist with your enquiry.