Asbestos safety inspector intimidation costs defendant more than $6,000

Asbestos safety inspector intimidation costs defendant more than $6,000

The owner of a demolition business has been fined $5,000 for intimidating a worker from the Queensland work health and safety authority over his behaviour during an asbestos inspection.

The defendant pleaded guilty in the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court last month to breaching Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by intimidating the inspector.

It was heard in court that on September 29, 2020, a WHS QLD inspector attended the worksite where the defendant was demolishing a house.

The inspector was attending the site after the authority received an asbestos complaint. He arrived at the site in uniform with his identification card displayed but was confronted by the defendant before he could enter the property.

The defendant was allegedly angry and aggressive towards the inspector and repeatedly shouted expletives in close proximity to the inspector. The inspector explained to the court he found the behaviour intimidating and attempted to placate the man, explaining he was there to assist with compliance.

The defendant did not respond to the assistance of the inspector and repeatedly swore at him. The inspector, feeling as though he may have been assaulted, walked away from the defendant, who followed him to his vehicle.

The inspector returned with a colleague, and the defendant apologised for his earlier behaviour but denied threatening the inspector.

Acting Magistrate Patrick Murphy noted the defendant’s guilty plea at sentencing and said his behaviour had been deplorable in the face of the inspector just doing his job.

The Acting Magistrate fined the defendant $5,000 and ordered him to pay costs of $1,100. No conviction was recorded.

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