Asbestos. An ABF Compliance Approach!

Australian Border Force has informed industry recently of it’s increased compliance monitoring of asbestos at the border. So what does that mean?

At Keys Freight and Logistics, we seek to protect our customers as much as possible. This email has been provided as additional guidance in helping to educate the wider community that the Australian Government takes a very serious approach towards asbestos prohibitions. At the time of submitting an import declaration, certain high risk products may be selected for further assessment. A request for further information by the Department, or evidence, typically looks like the below……..

The importer is required to submit supporting documentation to provide adequate assurance that asbestos is not contained within the consignment. Where inadequate assurances are provided, an examination of the consignment will be required. Declarations from the supplier, importer or manufacturer do not provide adequate assurance the goods do not contain asbestos.

Several types of documentation may be necessary to demonstrate a sufficient level of assurance. A non-exhaustive list of examples of supporting documentation is provided below:

1. Test certificate or laboratory report Testing must be undertaken by an Australian testing laboratory that is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). Details of NATA accredited laboratories in Australia are available at: National Association Testing Authorities, Australia. Where the testing is carried out overseas, prior to shipping to Australia, certification must be from an overseas testing laboratory accredited by the NATA equivalent testing authority in that overseas economy. The local testing authority must be a signatory to a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with NATA. The testing report must contain adequate information to be able to demonstrate assurance at the border. This includes: The test method used The date and origin of the sample Description of the sample (and sub-sample if applicable) including weight, size, colour and batch number of the production run for the goods from which the sample was drawn Whether fibres are detected under Polarised Light Microscopy / Dispersion Staining method (PLM/DS) at the detection limit, and if so what type of fibre If mineral fibres of unknown type are identified, the confirming technique used to assess asbestos content Name of the analyst. The ABF will seek further assurances from the importer where testing results show: Unknown mineral fibres present, with no further clarification The document is not for the actual batch of goods being shipped Where there is doubt as to the authenticity or accuracy of the document. For further information on testing for asbestos, refer to the following industry user guides, available on NATA website.

2. Documentation and/or information outlining the level of assurances taken throughout the supply chain including quality assurance process in place

3. Invoices demonstrating the supplier and/or manufacturer of the goods

4. Composition / Ingredient lists / material safety data sheets (MSDS)

5. Illustrative Descriptive Material (IDM) IDM needs to show enough detail, with sufficient written explanation, to be able to ascertain all of the physical characteristics of the goods, including: Composition – the constituent materials from which the goods are made Mode of manufacture – the processes by which the materials are modified to form the end product Form – the shape and dimensions of the goods Function – what the goods do, and how they do it Parts (where applicable) – requires additional IDM for the goods to which the parts belong, including sufficient detail to ascertain how the parts relate Accessories (where applicable) – requires additional IDM for the goods to which the accessories pertain, including sufficient detail to ascertain how the accessories relate IDM may take the form of photos, diagrams, URLs or other references, and may be (among other things) scanned physical documents, saved screen-shots of displayed documents/web-pages and/or hyper-links to existing open-source information on the Internet. The manufacture and use of all types of asbestos and Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) has been banned in Australia since 31 December 2003. Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws in all states and territories prohibit the supply, transport, use, or handling of asbestos unless an exception or exemption applies.

To support the domestic ban, importing fibrous forms of asbestos or ACM to Australia is prohibited unless a permission or exemption has been granted or a lawful exception applies pursuant to Regulation 4C of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

For further information please refer to ABF website via and fact sheet “Managing the risk of asbestos at the border” via

If we can help, or if you have any further questions, please Call our Customs team today! (08) 9455 2488

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