QLD roofing company charged over reckless removal of asbestos

A Brisbane-based roofing company has been fined $100,000 and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 26 July 2017, for failing to handle and safely dispose of asbestos.

The incident took place in 2015, when Roofmasters was engaged to remove a storm-damaged roof at a building leased by Trade Tools, and where consequently a number of people were exposed to asbestos dust.

Dr Simon Blackwood head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said the extent of asbestos contamination throughout the main showroom was widespread and notices were issued to clean up the site.

“Trade Tools closed their doors to the public for two months and spent lots of money on remediation work to fix the problem,” Dr Blackwood said.

“However, Roofmasters unnecessarily exposed their own workers, Trade Tools employees and members of the public to asbestos because they didn’t do things properly.”

Magistrate Robert Walker considered the failure of the defendant to implement any controls on site, either for its workers or others, as a serious breach of the Act.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said the company-exposed individuals, including its own employees to potentially serious illness. The court also noted there was a serious lack of training in the handling and removal of asbestos, which went against the defendant.

The court found that general deterrence was a paramount consideration in this case and also noted the delay in proceedings, particularly where the company went into voluntary administration soon after prosecution proceedings commenced.

“This is about proper risk management and making sure you are not exposing your employees, or anyone else for that matter, to the dangers associated with asbestos,” Dr Blackwood said.

“If you do the wrong thing, chances are we will find you, and where necessary, you will face the full consequences of the law."

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