Asbestos business fined for license failures

Asbestos business fined for license failures

A Queensland asbestos remediation business has faced the Southport Magistrates Court for failing to comply with a non-disturbance notice relating to asbestos-containing material and a lack of an appropriate license.

The company did not have an appropriate asbestos removal license. While it had previously held one, a decision was made not to renew it based on a history of non-compliance.

In January last year, the business was engaged to demolish a property in Mermaid Waters, on the Gold Coast, including removing 70 square metres of asbestos eaves.

A complaint was made, and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland sent inspectors to the site. On the 11th of February, inspectors issued a non-disturbance notice, suspecting asbestos-containing material had been found at the site. The notice required the business to stop work and secure the site, and ensure workers didn’t enter the site. The next day, the operations manager of the business attended the site to collect tools.

Work resumed after the non-disturbance notice expired and between the 16 and 22 of February, the defendant directed a worker to remove the eaves, which turned out to contain asbestos. The worker did not have the appropriate A and B asbestos removal licenses.

In sentencing, the Magistrate acknowledged that the contravention of the non-disturbance notice was minor, and a warning should have been issued. However, in regard to the asbestos removal by an unlicensed contractor, she noted that the company should have taken action in regard to its license to remove asbestos-containing material. She explained the work should have been completed or outsourced to a company that held an appropriate license.

The Magistrate explained the need for general deterrence and specific deterrence, in regards to ‘best practise’ not being adopted by the business previously. She acknowledged the early guilty plea and cooperation with the investigation and fined the business $7,000 with no conviction.

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