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Investigation highlights asbestos dangers with high pressure cleaners

An investigation into high pressure cleaning of a corrugated asbestos roof in Brisbane has confirmed debris and asbestos fibres were spread across the property and two neighbouring properties.

Asbestos is a risk in the wake of summer storm damage for old homes containing asbestos materials. Despite the urgency to clean up and get back to normal, it is illegal to use some tools and work methods on asbestos-containing materials (ACM) as they can generate dangerous airborne asbestos fibres. Fines and clean-up costs apply for breaching these laws. A Brisbane painter was fined $3,000 last year for allowing a worker to use a high-pressure water spray on an asbestos roof. On top of the fine, the clean-up cost was another $48,291.09.

Under Queensland laws, PCBUs must not use, direct, or allow anyone to use high pressure spray on ACM. Remember it is likely asbestos will be present in buildings constructed before 1990.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland publishes resources for workers and DIYers, including a film on how to avoid damaging or disturbing asbestos on a roof to keep homeowners and neighbours safe from deadly asbestos fibres.