Back in April we wrote a blog about the introduction of new health and safety regulations concerning asbestos. (https://www.upperhutthire.co.nz/asbestos-and-the-4th-of-april/). Based on the court appearance of a builder last week, it seems Worksafe been actively policing this new legislation.
According to the Worksafe press release, Richard John Knight appeared in the Christchurch District Court for sentencing and was fined $3000 for failure to possess a licence for asbestos removal, and failure to obtain certification for the work completed. WorkSafe’s inquiries found that in addition to not being licensed for the job, Knight also failed to safely manage the risk of asbestos in the demolition of the house involved. This included failing to decontaminate equipment used in the demolition and failing to wear appropriate protective equipment. He also allowed other people to enter the house unprotected. The only positive side was that he coughed up (no pun intended) to the charges early on, and helped Worksafe with their inquiries. You can read the full press release at https://worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-media/builder-in-court-after-unlicensed-and-unsafe-asbestos-removal/
Asbestos is a nasty material. Its long term impact on the health of construction workers is catastrophic and irreversible . What caught our attention is the failure by Knight to decontaminate the demolition equipment used, and the potential ramifications contaminated equipment could have on a team like ours. Afterall, cleaning and servicing equipment upon its return is a major part of our role.
Coincidently we were chatting with a fellow hire company earlier this week, who mentioned that they require all customers to notify them of the use of any hire equipment involving asbestos and decontaminate it prior to return.
As of now, we require the same.
If you are using any of our gear to cut or move asbestos or asbestos-containing material, you must have an Asbestos Removal Plan in place, you need to advise us beforehand of your intentions, and you’ll need to make sure it has been decontaminated before you bring it back.
There’s a lot more at stake than a court fine. Specifically we don’t any of our team inhaling toxic crap like asbestos. So if you are dealing with asbestos or any asbestos-containing material, at least let us know.