ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe has warned the Canberra community and building industry to be diligent when ordering building products from overseas.
The warning comes after some building material, which was ordered from overseas for a renovation job in a local commercial building was found to contain asbestos.
“The builder, who was engaged to install a modular unit and some wall sheeting, suspected the materials supplied to him by the client may have contained asbestos. When he had a sample tested by an asbestos assessor the test results came back as positive for chrysotile asbestos,” Mark said.
“A further supply of the same materials, stored in an off-site unit, were tested and also came back positive for asbestos. A Prohibition Notice has since been issued to secure the area and restrict access to the unit.
“I commend the builder for his action in following up on his suspicions in this case.
“WorkSafe ACT is currently investigating this matter to ascertain how much of the material has been imported by the client, what company the material was imported from, how it was imported, and if it has been used in any other jobs. At this stage we believe this material was only used for this particular job.
“This is a reminder to anyone ordering building materials from overseas to check the contents and makeup of these materials, to ensure they comply with Australian safety standards.
“Safety standards often differ from country to country, so it is crucial to check that the products you are ordering are acceptable for use in Australia and the ACT.
“Other states and territories have had similar issues arise from time to time. One of the more common scenarios has involved the importation of building products such as floor and other tiles from some Chinese suppliers.
“If you are a tradesperson or you are planning a renovation of any kind, be diligent when ordering building materials yourself, especially if they come from overseas. In this case use of this material could have presented a serious risk to the builder and his team, not to mention other persons who may have been involved in that work.”
[“Asbestos1USGOV” by Unknown – http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/subcommittees/emr/usgsweb/photogallery/ , see also webarchive – resourcescommittee.house.gov, Asbestos_jpg.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.]