$513,880 enforceable undertaking for Blue Mountains City Council

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institue of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 - 12:30
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
New South Wales

Blue Mountains City Council recently accepted a $513,880 enforceable undertaking after it allegedly contravened sections 425(1), 429(2), 445(1) and 479(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 in NSW.

A complaint was received by SafeWork NSW relating to work conducted between 8 November 2016 and 21 September 2017 at two work sites in Lawson, where approximately 18 workers were engaged in excavating top soil and substrata and transporting it to another site for screening, sifting and removing debris.

During the excavation works asbestos fibre cement material was excavated, however, asbestos registers and management plans were not in place for the work undertaken.

A contamination report previously found asbestos containing material on the sites.

The report also recommended the implementation of an asbestos management plan to ensure the appropriate identification, removal and validation of asbestos contamination prior to work being undertaken.

As part of the enforceable undertaking, Blue Mountains City Council will undertake a number of activities:

  • development, promotion and distribution of an Asbestos Management Toolkit that could be used by all Local Councils within NSW
  • a consultative survey of all Council staff to identify trends and potential psychosocial risks, and then implement steps to rectify these issues and hopefully bring about cultural change
  • roll out new mobile communication technology for workers off-site and ‘in the field’, so that they can easily access site, building and safety information while undertaking work remotely
  • a public education campaign on how to legally and safely dispose of asbestos.