ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe says he is “extremely concerned” with the cavalier attitude to the handling of asbestos by a small number of builders.
“While the majority of people in the building industry understand only too well the dangers associated with dealing with asbestos, and the care that must be taken when handling it, a small number are ignoring the risks,” Mr McCabe said.
“I can only assume that these people are putting financial gain in front of their legal and moral responsibilities. Unfortunately, they don’t just put themselves at risk when they do so. Their workers, other tradespeople within the industry and even members of the public are all put at risk in some of these situations.
Mr McCabe has pointed out that there are very strong sanctions available to a regulator such as WorkSafe when breaches of the legislation are proven.
“I will not hesitate to refer such matters to the Director of Public Prosecution and ask that the courts be encouraged to impose substantial penalties in such cases,” Mr McCabe said.
“WorkSafe is already investigating several matters which could lead to prosecution through the courts and I have asked our inspectors to pass these most recent incidents to our Investigations Unit as well.”
More information about asbestos can be found at www.asbestos.act.gov.au