Certified asbestos safety management system essential


Licensed asbestos removal businesses must have a certified safety management system (SMS) by 4 April 2018 as part of the new asbestos regulations.

WorkSafe outlines what a safety management system is, and what to consider when developing one. 

Start now

It takes time to develop a system and have it audited.

It is possible to complete this in a matter of weeks if you dedicate sufficient time and resources.

However, it is more realistic to allow between six and nine months.

The sooner you start, the easier it will be to have it ready by the deadline.

What is a safety management system?

A safety management system (SMS) is an established set of processes to manage health and safety and maintain a high safety standard in the workplace.

It should include accountabilities, policies and procedures, and be appropriate to the size and complexity of your asbestos removal business.

What if I don’t have one by the deadline?

Your licence will become invalid if you don’t have a certified system by 4 April 2018.

This means you must stop working to remove asbestos until you have a valid licence.

If you continue to work in the removal business without a valid licence, you run the risk of prosecution by WorkSafe.

There may be other consequences, such as invalid insurance.

What should a SMS include?

The list below gives you an idea of what should be covered by the SMS:

  • Health and safety policy
  • Planning requirements:
    • Hazard identification, risk assessment and determining controls
  • Legal and other requirements
  • Objectives and programme(s)
  • Implementation requirements:
    • Resources, roles, responsibility, accountability and authority
    • Competence, training and awareness
    • Communication, participation and consultation
    • Documentation requirements, including control of documents
    • Operational controls
    • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Checking requirements:
    • Performance measurement and monitoring
    • Evaluation of compliance
    • Incident investigation, nonconformity, corrective action and preventive action
    • Control of records
    • Internal audit
    • Management review

It needs to be audited

All licence holders need their SMS certified by an auditor who is accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) or the National Association of Testing Authorities (Australia) (NATA).

Your SMS must be compliant with:

Where to start

If you wish to independently develop a system, purchase your chosen standard using the links above.

To make the process as smooth as possible WorkSafe recommend seeking assistance from a consultant, or from any one of the accredited auditors listed on the JAZ-ANZ site:


When using the search, select advanced search and enter your chosen standard – 18001 or 4801 and then choose New Zealand.

This will filter the list to just those accreditation bodies that operate in New Zealand