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Company fined $20,000 for asbestos disturbance at Brisbane school

A company supplying electrical services to a school was sentenced and fined $20,000 in the Holland Park Magistrates Court.

The defendant was subcontracted by the principal contractor to supply and install air-conditioning units at a Brisbane school. It was heard they also subcontracted the mechanical installation work to another company.

Prior to the work commencing, the defendant was informed of the presence of asbestos in numerous rooms of the school and was provided with a copy of the asbestos register, which detailed the location of asbestos or suspected asbestos material in each room.

The defendant prepared a safe work method statement, which was signed by workers and detailed how work involving asbestos was to be conducted and set out requirements for control measures to be implemented to manage the risk of asbestos.

The need for control measures like personal protective equipment was discussed at weekly toolbox talks with workers, held throughout the course of the works. However, the workers tasked with performing this work did not receive a copy of the asbestos register and were not provided with training in relation to the identification, safe handling, and control measures in relation to asbestos, prior to work commencing.

Workers were required to undergo asbestos awareness training, but they did not complete this course until after work was underway. The project manager, engaged by the defendant to oversee the project, was also not trained to identify asbestos.

Read more: Company fined $20,000 for failing to manage asbestos risks.