Asbestos warning for older pools and spas

SPASA Western Australia

Friday, 05 October, 2018

Asbestos warning for older pools and spas

SPASA WA has issued a warning in relation to the presence of asbestos in older pools and spas, saying maintenance, repair or renovation work may introduce a hazard that is not commonly recognised.

Marblesheen (Marblelite) finishes have been identified as potentially containing asbestos. Marblesheen is a decorative coating applied to pool shells and is primarily composed of white cement and white marble chips.

Marblesheen-coated pools built before 1990 should be assumed to contain asbestos while pools built before 1990 which may have been resurfaced (leaving the original Marblesheen coating in place underneath) could also potentially contain asbestos.

If the pool or spa coating is not disturbed and in good condition, there is a low risk of asbestos fibres being released. However, the risk with older pools and spas is that the coatings may have aged and cracked, which could potentially release the asbestos fibres during renovation or demolition/removal.

Working with asbestos requires strict controls in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Safe Removal of Asbestos and the Code of Practice for the Management and Control of Asbestos in Workplaces.

In addition to these codes, the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 provide that:

  • asbestos at workplaces must be identified and the risks assessed;
  • a licence is required for removal of friable* asbestos-containing material or for removal of more than 10 m2 of non-friable# asbestos-containing material;
  • people must not be exposed to asbestos dust;
  • asbestos work areas must be left in a clean state;
  • waste asbestos must be correctly disposed of;
  • records must be kept, and WorkSafe notified, if a person has been exposed to asbestos at a workplace; and
  • where there is a risk to health from asbestos exposure, health surveillance must be provided.

*Friable asbestos means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be easily crumbled or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. Examples of friable asbestos include, but are not limited to, asbestos lagging, sprayed insulation, millboard, felt and woven asbestos matting.

#Non-friable asbestos means any asbestos-containing material other than friable asbestos. Examples of non-friable asbestos include, but are not limited to, asbestos cement building products, vinyl floor tiles, friction materials and any product where the asbestos is locked in.

The presence of asbestos cannot be confirmed unless a sample is analysed by a laboratory. The laboratory will provide a report of the sample findings. An accredited facility can be sourced through the National Association of Testing Authorities (NTA). To ensure your business is working within the requirements for asbestos management in Western Australia, contact the team at Safety Solutions WA at

Image credit: © Britten

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