Company fined after unsafe demolition

A demolition company has been convicted and fined $20,000 after a neighbour spotted workers knocking down a building containing asbestos without the proper controls in place.
News article published

Tuesday 15 Dec 2020

Industries and topics
  • Construction
  • Asbestos

Fivestar Demolition and Render Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court last Thursday to failing to provide or maintain a workplace that was safe and without risks to health and failing to ensure that people other than employees were not exposed to risks to health.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of $4449.

The court heard that after being alerted by the neighbour, WorkSafe inspectors attended the Oak Park property in May 2018 and observed two Fivestar workers demolishing a bungalow.

An independent hygienist confirmed the building contained asbestos. Fivestar was not a licensed asbestos removalist.

A worker said the company’s director had told them to go ahead with the work despite the presence of asbestos to get the job done quicker.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said cutting corners on safety was unacceptable.

"Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material that can have lifelong health consequences for anyone exposed to it," Ms Nielsen said.

"Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace and must also comply with laws relating to asbestos removal."

Removing asbestos in the workplace:

  • Domestic premises become workplaces when a person or company has been engaged to carry out work.
  • Asbestos removal work must be performed by an asbestos removal licence holder and/or their employees who are appropriately trained and instructed to perform the removal work safely.
  • Unlicensed removal of limited amounts of asbestos is permitted in certain circumstances only.
  • Asbestos removal work must comply with strict safety requirements. Some of these are the use of protective clothing and equipment, decontamination facilities, waste disposal procedures, employee medical examinations, the use of signs and barricades and the preparation of an asbestos control plan.