Reminder issued over asbestos flooring risks following

Reminder issued over asbestos flooring risks following

WorkSafe is reminding businesses of their obligations when it comes to asbestos and the general public as to the genuine risks that come about when renovating after it was made aware of a case of poorly handled flooring which contained asbestos materials.

Inspired Enterprises Limited, trading as Harrisons Carpet and Flooring Christchurch West, was hired by a client to replace flooring in June of 2021.

A subcontractor, Lawrence Gannaway (trading as Simply Floors), uncovered old vinyl during the works and, during the process of removing the floors, disturbed the backing of the vinyl. The broken vinyl was tested and returned a positive result for chrysotile asbestos. In reviewing the work already completed following the test result, it was found that the material had not been disposed of in the correct manner.

Both Inspired Enterprises and its subcontractor Mr Gannaway was sentenced for health and safety failures following a WorkSafe investigation which found that from the outset of the project, asbestos was likely to be disturbed during the works. There should have been an asbestos management plan put in place, which was not the case, and when quoting the customer, no mention was made of asbestos.

“This unfortunate incident shows how even well-known operators like a Harrison’s franchisee can be caught out on the basics of asbestos safety,” says WorkSafe’s General Inspectorate head, Simon Humphries.

Renovators and construction workers are reminded that buildings built or significantly renovated before 2000 are likely to contain asbestos materials.

“It’s not OK to assume there is no risk and you are in the clear. Businesses have a duty to identify and manage risks associated with asbestos, and management plans are required for workplaces where asbestos or asbestos-containing material has been identified or is likely to be present. WorkSafe has comprehensive information on its website to help businesses and people understand the risks of asbestos and how to manage them,” Humphries explained.

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