A demolition company has been fined $100,000 and a conviction recorded for tearing down two houses in suburban Brisbane using an excavator, without first safely removing asbestos sheeting.
The defendant, Bnm Ahmad Group Pty Ltd, had previously breached the requirements of asbestos laws, with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors issuing statutory notices for numerous non-compliant activities, and was not licensed to carry out demolition work involving asbestos.
During both house demolitions, the excavator broke the asbestos sheeting, releasing dangerous asbestos dust into the air and leaving debris strewn around both yards.
Magistrate Joseph Pinder in the Brisbane Magistrate Court noted the defendant had demonstrated a complete disregard for the law, with no mitigating circumstances to be considered at all. His Honour observed a fine of $100,000 for the offences was modest in the circumstances.
Asbestos was used in the building industry between the 1940s and late 1980s. It is not dangerous if the materials are in good condition and left undisturbed, however it becomes a serious health risk if it is broken, and the fibres become airborne and inhaled.
It is vital that safe work procedures are in place for any work involving asbestos materials and companies must manage all health risks to their workers and to the public. Companies demolishing or removing asbestos materials as part of their business must be licensed.
Find out more about this ruling by reading the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor’s court report.
Learn more about working with asbestos safely at asbestos.qld.gov.au.
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