ABC Demolition & Asbestos Removal found guilty of six work safety violations

At a recent hearing in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court, ABC Demolition & Asbestos Removal Pty Ltd and its two directors were fined $16,000 for not properly demolishing a house which had asbestos containing material.

The company and its directors were found guilty of six charges under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

The company was contracted to remove a Toowoomba house which had asbestos containing material that should have been appropriately removed prior to any demolition work but that did not occur.

Instead, an excavator was used to demolish the dwelling and asbestos was simply pushed into piles across the site.

The court heard limited effort was made to remove the asbestos or put in control measures against inadvertent dispersal of asbestos.

The Queensland Office of Industrial Relation prosecutor said the excavator should not have been used to demolish the structure while it contained the asbestos.

The company did not put in place ‘asbestos removal’ signage on the property perimeter as required to alert people about the potentially hazardous works being undertaken, nor was an adequate asbestos removal control plan put in place before removal work

The court heard the company was also required to inform property owners close to the site that ACM works were happening.

Again, this wasn’t done.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors who attended site found the asbestos was not adequately contained and labelled as required before its removal from the site.

In sentencing, Magistrate Kay Ryan noted the risks from asbestos and the illnesses that may result are well documented, as are the methods for safe handling and removal of that material. ABC Demolition & Asbestos Removal was a licensed asbestos removalist and well aware of the safe methods for removal of the material.

Magistrate Ryan said if rules for safe removal of asbestos are not followed then the effects can be absolutely devastating for people who acquire a related illness.

This could also mean the two directors who carried out the work.

Ms Ryan said there was a heavy onus on all three defendants (the company and its two directors) to keep this work site safe.

Magistrate Ryan took into account the defendant company’s timely guilty plea, that it had no previous convictions for any work health and safety breach and had engaged a contractor (at its own cost) to remediate the contaminated work site.

She also noted the company was no longer engaged in demolition or asbestos removal works and was moving towards deregistration.

ABC Demolition & Asbestos Removal was fined $8,000, plus courts costs of almost $1,100. No conviction was recorded.

The two company directors, Benedict Somersett and Dail Cameron, who carried out demolition works, were each fined $4,000. Both individual defendants advised the court they had been affected financially and health wise by the proceedings and are no longer involved in this type of work.

No convictions were recorded against the directors.

Article originally published by the Toowoomba Chronicle.

Posted in News

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