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Asbestos on-the-spot fine 262555

Event number 262555
Date of incident 04 October 2018
Incident location (suburb) Manly West, Brisbane, Queensland
Incident description

The Sole Trader PCBU was a building contractor undertaking renovation work engaged by the owner of a domestic house to, amongst other things, remove asbestos containing material sheeting. To undertake the work, the PCBU used implements (hammer and crow bar) in an uncontrolled manner to remove the asbestos containing material sheeting. An investigation by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) identified this activity generated asbestos contaminated dust and debris (ACD) within the property boundaries.

Investigation outcomes

Removing asbestos containing sheeting using implements that caused the release of airborne asbestos into the atmosphere is a prohibited practiceand is considered a serious breach in terms of the potential to expose person/s to a risk of illness, However, the extent to which the prohibited practice was performed caused minimal potential risk, in that

  • the contaminated areas were quickly identified and control measures put in place by WHSQ. This minimised the potential risk of exposure to any other persons.
  • the ACD was primarily confined to the relevant property
  • potential exposure to a risk to persons was also minimised because the ACD was promptly cleaned up by the PCBU.
  • The PCBU co-operated and assisted inspectors throughout the investigation.
  • Any potential risk was minimised and therefore considered low.
  • The PCBU had no previous WHS convictions.
Enforcement action taken

In consideration of the circumstances and the mitigating features, an infringement notice was issued to the sole trader PCBU under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011:

  • s446(3) – allowing a worker to use equipment on ACM / asbestos sheeting – without dust controls. $432.00