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January 2020

Asbestos removal breaches safety laws

Asbestos removal breaches safety laws

WorkSafe Victoria v Concept Dimensions Pty Ltd (2016)

Facts

Concept Dimensions Pty Ltd (Company) was subcontracted by the owner of a residential premises in Victoria to demolish part of the premises and perform construction work. The owner asked the Company to perform asbestos-removal work from the premises, specifically removing approximately 30 square metres of eaves containing asbestos.

On 17 April 2015, the Company instructed its employees to remove the eaves. The eaves were later analysed and determined to contain chrysotile asbestos.

Judgment

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria heard evidence that the volume of asbestos on site was greater than 10 square metres and took longer than 1 hour per 7-day period to remove it, which was a breach of health and safety laws. The Court also heard evidence that neither the Company nor its employees held an asbestos removal licence. The Company pleaded guilty and was sentenced without conviction to pay a fine of $2,500 and to pay costs of $3,000.

Lessons

Employers should ensure that they only perform work for which they are qualified and licensed. Not only will a failure to do so result in a penalty but it is likely to put others at risk if the work is not performed in a safe manner.

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