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Asbestos on-the-spot fine 239184

Event number 239184
Date of incident 17 February 2017
Incident location (suburb) Keperra 4054
Incident description

The PCBU was a painting contractor engaged by a homeowner to clean the roof and outer walls of a residential premises prior to painting. Proceeding with the job, the PCBU directed and allowed his worker to use a high pressure water spray to clean the roof. This activity generated asbestos contaminated dust and debris (ACD) and lead paint debris within the yard of the property.

Investigation outcomes
  • Although using high pressure equipment on an ACM roof is prohibited, and is considered a serious breach in terms of the potential to expose person/s to a risk of illness, their was minimal risk because the worker performing the task had the forethought to cease the activity at an early point after commencing,
  • apart from the contamination being minor, the debris was bonded and there was a low risk of exposure to persons during the activity because it was performed for a short period causing minor contamination,
  • debris was confined to the one property, and
  • risk exposure to a person following the activity was also low because the debris was promptly cleaned up by the PCBU.
Considerations
  • The PCBU co-operated and assisted inspectors throughout the investigation.
  • Immediately following the incident the PCBU remediated the site.
  • Contamination was considered minor.
  • Risk was considered low.
  • The PCBU has no previous convictions.
Enforcement action taken

An improvement notice was issued to the PCBU under s484(1) to clean up the asbestos waste. Notice No 1001807.

Considering the circumstances and the mitigating features, it was decided that the most appropriate enforcement action was to issue an infringement notice to the PCBU under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011:

  • s446(1) – allowing a worker to carry out a prohibited activity namely, the use of high pressure water spray on an ACM / asbestos roof – $2160.