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Asbestos on-the-spot fine 245718

Event number 245718
Date of incident 05 August 2017
Incident location (suburb) Southport, Queensland
Incident description

The incorporated PCBU was the owner of a domestic house who engaged a worker through 'Airtasker to clean the asbestos containing material (ACM) roof. To undertake the work, the worker used high pressure water spray equipment to clean the roof. An investigation by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) Asbestos Unit identified this activity generated asbestos contaminated dust and debris (ACD) within the property boundaries.

Investigation outcomes
  • The event itself was a prohibited practice (to use high pressure equipment on an ACM roof), and is considered a serious breach in terms of the potential to expose person/s to a risk of illness.
  • The extent of ACD contamination caused was undetermined due a Class B removalist being engaged by the PCBU and on site at the time of the initial visit by WHSQ. The ACD which WHSQ observed was considered minor and confined to the relevant property.
  • Potential exposure to persons following the activity was minimised because the ACD was promptly cleaned up by the PCBU.
Considerations
  • Following the incident the PCBU had the site remediated.
  • Any potential risk was minimised and therefore considered low.
  • The PCBU has no previous convictions.
Enforcement action taken

A prohibition notice was issued to the person undertaking the prohibited activity to stop the activity from continuing. This was complied with.

In consideration of the circumstances and other factors, 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 – $2,160.00.