Asbestos Prosecution Brings Home Safety Message

Builders, contractors and tradespeople have been urged to familiarise themselves with workplace asbestos handling procedures or face heavy clean-up costs and prosecution.

Breathing in asbestos fibres has been linked to three respiratory diseases, all of which can be fatal.
•Asbestosis: a chronic lung disease that can lead to respiratory impairment and to diseases such as lung cancer.
•Mesothelioma: a cancer of the lining of the pleura (outer lung lining) or of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity).
•Lung cancer: caused by asbestos; cannot be distinguished from those cancers that are caused by other agents such as tobacco smoke.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) enforces work safety laws, including those involving asbestos, as well as issuing A and B class certificates for asbestos removal for both friable and bonded materials.

A man recently was fined $5500 over the use of a high pressure hose to clean an asbestos roof on a house on Coochiemudlo Island.
The WHSQ prosecution and investigation found the man did not undertake a risk assessment on the project even though he was informed that the roof contained asbestos particles.

Last year, the case was highlighted of a Mackay man being fined $4000 after being prosecuted over the removal of asbestos roof sheeting. He was ripping asbestos sheeting off a roof and breaking it up while people were working in the building below.
Some other cases have involved contractors being required to pay up to $100,000 to get in professional cleaners to clean up their mess.

The WHSQ website spells out the obligations and responsibilities of people working with asbestos, their license requirements and safety tips for removal or maintenance work. You can also download the Queensland Government publication Asbestos: A home renovator’s and tradesperson’s guide for minor work in domestic buildings (PDF, 1.96 MB), which has been updated to include information for contractors.

People who need to be aware of safe asbestos handling procedures include licensed contractors, hirers of high pressure water cleaners, electricians, cleaners and air conditioner installers.

So, what do you think of the Asbestos issue?  Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page we always like to know what our readers think!

About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

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  4. Us asbestos removalists are always kept on our toes by these laws. Its good to see people trying to keep people from dying from asbestos disease, but whenever i work with smaller companies they take no safety precautions when removing asbestos.

  5. Arden McLane says:

    Thanks for the informative article! I will share this to my friend.

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