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Asbestos on-the-spot fine 251666

Event number 251666
Date of incident 02 January 2018
Incident location (suburb) Woody Point, Queensland
Incident description

The sole trader PCBU was a painting contractor engaged by the owner of a domestic house to clean mould from the surface of external asbestos containing material (ACM) sheeting (asbestos fibro walls). To undertake the work, the PCBU used high pressure water spray equipment on the ACM surface. An investigation by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Asbestos Unit identified this activity had the potential to cause asbestos contaminated dust and debris (ACD) within and outside the property boundaries.

Investigation outcomes
  • The use of high pressure water spray on an ACM surface is a prohibited practice and considered a serious breach in terms of the potential to expose person/s to a risk of illness.
  • On this occasion, what the prohibited practice caused in terms of ACD was unknown because the relevant area had already been cleaned up.
  • Any potential exposure to limited persons is considered very low.
Considerations
  • The PCBU cooperated and assisted inspectors throughout the investigation.
  • Any potential risk was minimised and therefore considered low.
  • The PCBU has no previous work health and safety convictions.
Enforcement action taken

A prohibition notice was issued to the PCBU under s420(1) to cease the activity of using high pressure water spray on an ACM surface, which was complied with.

In consideration of the circumstances and the mitigating features, it was decided that the most appropriate enforcement action was to issue an infringement notice to the sole trader 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 – $432.00.