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Spate of asbestos roof incidents result in expensive prosecutions for Queensland businesses

Tradespeople and home renovators across Queensland are urged to heed a critical reminder following a series of recent asbestos prosecutions by the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor.

A sole-trader in Mackay was recently fined and ordered to pay over $50,000 restitution after a 2021 incident when he caused the release of asbestos dust and debris by using a high-pressure water spray on an asbestos tiled roof. Read the full court report.

This legal action comes on the heels of a string of recent prosecutions that have brought the dangers of improper asbestos handling into sharp focus. In March, a Brisbane painting business and its director were fined $37,500 plus costs for using a high-pressure hose on an asbestos roof in 2021. Additionally, the court ordered significant remediation costs and compensation for the affected homeowner.

Similarly, in December 2023, a small handyman business was prosecuted for using a high-pressure water hose on an asbestos roof in Coopers Plains in August 2021. Consequently, the business received a fine of $5000 and a two-year court ordered undertaking in the sum of $25,000. Separately, one of the workers of the business was prosecuted and ordered to complete 60 hours of community service within 12 months, and a two-year court ordered undertaking in the sum of $15,000.

Asbestos, commonly found in construction materials from the 1940s to the late 1980s, poses no threat if undisturbed and in good condition. However, improper cleaning, handling, and disposal of asbestos-containing materials releases dangerous fibres into the environment, posing severe health risks to the public.

Queensland residents are reminded that the use of high-pressure water hoses on surfaces such as asbestos cement roofs, fences, and walls is illegal, and offenders, whether businesses or homeowners, will face substantial fines and incur cleanup costs for any violations.

Further information

Learn more about how to live and work safely with asbestos at