Ceiling dust, in houses and buildings constructed before 1970, is generally contaminated with a variety of minerals, which are dangerous to health. Lead is particularly dangerous to children and is found in high levels in ceiling dust in houses and buildings near busy roads, industrial areas and dense city areas.

This dust should be removed for the sake of the health of occupants and any potential workers. Because of its very nature, the dust, if disturbed, can be easily spread to all parts of a building. The extent of dust removal will be dependent on the extent of the disturbance and proposed usage of the space following the work.


      • Demolition of ceiling or cavity walls;
      • Installation of an attic ladder;
      • Addition of a second storey extension;
      • Installation of insulation, new electrical wiring, ceiling ventilation, fan etc;
      • Dust leakage through wall vents and ceiling vents;
      • Dust leakage through tongue and groove timber ceilings.


      • Installation of a skylight, light fitting, etc;
      • Dust leakage through cornices, picture rails, skirting boards, architraves, window and door frames, fire places and the like;
      • Future storms or other trauma which could damage the ceiling.
      • The removal of the dust is a hazardous procedure for the workers and the occupants and so strict procedures and guidelines should be followed.



Ceiling dust removal should be completed before any other building work involving penetrations into ceilings or walls is carried out.

The removal should only be carried out by experienced Contractors who can show proof of their competency, eg have a Certificate from a training course accredited by ADRA (Australian Dust Removalists Association Incorporated).

Before commencing removal from ceilings or walls, all vents, cracks or fissures should be sealed to ensure contaminated dust is not spread to other parts of the building.



The contractor shall adhere to the following general guidelines for ceiling space decontamination: 

      1. All contractors are required to exercise relevant OHS procedures to comply with the relevant NSW WorkCover Authority legislation.
      2. All occupants should be advised to vacate the premises during the ceiling dust removal. Children, in particular, should be absent during work.
      3. At the time of quoting, the contractor could furnish to the homeowner, a fact sheet on ceiling dust by THE LEAD GROUP.
      4. All employees directly involved in the removal should wear, at all times, personal protective equipment conforming to AS1716 (Respiratory Protective Devices) and be sufficiently trained in their use. They include masks, hooded overalls and gloves.
      5. All employees directly involved in the removal should undergo personal biological monitoring for exposure to contaminants in ceiling dust and records should be kept.
      6. All dust should be removed by HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners. The cleaning unit and the dust collection system would preferably remain external to the building.
      7. Dust should not be swept or shovelled into bags.
      8. Removal of the dust should start from the roof entry point and work should be continued from there towards the edge of the ceiling so as to minimise the disturbance of the dust.
      9. All collected dust should be contained in sealed drums or 200um (micrometre) plastic bags and transported under EPA guidelines and disposed of at an EPA licensed waste facility.
      10. All employees involved in dust removal should adopt good hygiene practices and ensure hands and faces are thoroughly washed often and prior to smoking or eating.
      11. Smoking should not be allowed within the confines of the premises.
      12. All employees entering the ceiling space within one (1) hour of dust removal should wear approved respiratory protection conforming to AS1716.
      13. Personal decontamination procedures are to be followed including disposal of used overalls with the dust and washing hands and face with clean water outside the building before leaving the site, with all wastewater directed to the sewer.
      14. All Contractors should have a Certificate of Currencies for a minimum public liability cover of $5,000,000 and relevant workers compensation insurance.



That the ceiling dust removal Contractor: 

  1. Be credited by ADRA Inc. and follow the Code of Practice for Ceiling Dust Removal.
  2. Ensure workers are covered by WorkCover requirements.
  3. Dispose of contaminated dust in handling procedures, transport and disposal in accordance with EPA Guidelines on Classification and Management of Waste.
  4. Use of best practice including prior site inspection, adequate supervision of workers and full disclosure of issues to the client.



No responsibility, either direct or implied, is assumed by ADRA Inc. for omission or duplications by the Contractor or his sub-contractors due to real or alleged error in this Code of Practice. The information contained in this Code of Practice was compiled using the information available at the time of writing. August 2002