NSW: caution over unlicensed tradies offering to remove asbestos

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Thursday, 31 August, 2017 - 12:15
Media release
National News
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW recently appealed for information about tradespeople reportedly offering to carry out unlicensed asbestos removal work at bushfire-damaged properties in western NSW.

Dodgy tradespeople may be making unsolicited approaches to owners of Warrumbungle Shire properties damaged during the devastating Sir Ivan bushfire in February this year, according to SafeWork NSW.

Information received by the regulator suggests the tradespeople are offering to remove fire-damaged asbestos materials, although they are not licensed to do so.

In NSW, all asbestos removal work over 10 square metres must be undertaken by a licensed asbestos removalist.

Fire-damaged asbestos materials must be safely managed so that the health of the community is protected, said SafeWork NSW director, regional north, Laurence Richey.

“Fire-damaged asbestos materials can only be cleaned up by holders of a Class A asbestos removal licence,” Richey said.

“Property owners should only use qualified asbestos removalists licensed by SafeWork to ensure asbestos is safely and properly removed.

“Significant penalties apply if a person is caught undertaking unlicensed asbestos removal work, with fines ranging from $3,600 for individuals to $18,000 for body corporates.

“It is completely unacceptable to risk people’s health and SafeWork NSW encourages anyone with information about these alleged activities to contact us on 1800 ASBESTOS (1800 272 378).

“We will take strong action against anyone caught doing unlicensed removal of fire-damaged asbestos materials.”

Richey said property owners could find a list of local licensed asbestos removalists on the SafeWork NSW website.

“Licensed asbestos removalists are listed by region, so property owners can find one close to them,” he said.

“The licensed removalist will notify SafeWork about the fire damaged asbestos material being removed from the property and also ensure that all asbestos likely to be disturbed by any demolition work is identified and safely removed.”

The SafeWork NSW website includes a list of licensed asbestos removalists and advice on safe asbestos management after a bushfire or people can call 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378).