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WorkSafe Asbestos Prosecution

Published 04 Dec 2017

Failing to follow correct asbestos removal procedures has resulted in the first prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 and a fine of $10,000.

Topham Holding Limited were first advised by WorkSafe in July 2016 that the building on land they were leasing was likely to contain asbestos. It was also explained that any worked carried out would require notification to WorkSafe and correct permits otherwise a prohibition notice would be issued. Testing by WorkSafe later confirmed the presence of asbestos.

Failing to appreciate that the shed contained asbestos and the serious risks associated with exposure, Topham began demolition on the building. Upon being issued with a prohibition notice, Topham ceased work and engaged a removal specialist.

Given Topham were made aware there was a possibility of asbestos on a number of occasions, Judge Maze set the starting point for a fine at $20,000, this was then reduced for a guilty plea and the remedial work resulting in the final fine of $10,000.

It is estimated that 20% of work related deaths are from asbestos related diseases, making it the biggest cause of work-related disease deaths. The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 sets out the expectations for management and safely carrying out work that involves asbestos. We offer a dedicated asbestos register in the Employers Toolbox Health and Safety to help you comply with these regulations.