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Asbestos safety alert: Water blasting roofs could prove costly

Under Queensland laws, you can face hefty fines if you're found water blasting roofs that contain dangerous asbestos materials. Under WHS laws, the use of high-pressure water spraying equipment on asbestos-containing materials, including asbestos cement roofs, fences, and walls, is prohibited as they can release dangerous airborne fibres.

High-pressure cleaning can destroy the surface of asbestos containing materials and spread asbestos fibres widely.

Householders face fines of up to $10,000 under Public Health Legislation for using high-pressure water blasters on asbestos-containing materials and must pay for the clean-up costs. Businesses may face heftier fines.

In 2022, an unlicensed handyman was fined $3,000 for removing asbestos from an inner-city Brisbane home. He used a wrecking bar to remove the material and disposed of the materials illegally. Under WHS legislation you are at risk of on-the-spot fines and prosecution which may lead to heavy penalties.

In another incident, a house painter's failure to protect his workers and the public from asbestos was labelled 'disgraceful' by a Brisbane magistrate. The painter was fined $3,000 for breaches of Queensland’s work safety laws by failing to ensure the health and safety of others and allowing a worker to use a high-pressure water sprayer on asbestos materials.

Well-maintained asbestos cement cladding and roofs are not a risk to health unless they are physically disturbed. If you're planning to renovate or undertake roof cleaning activities, it's advised you consult a registered asbestos specialist.

Further information

Read more about asbestos, how it affects people, and the code of practice.

Prohibited activities | Asbestos.

Asbestos dangers with high pressure cleaners.