A demolition company in Victoria has been convicted and fined $20,000 after a neighbour spotted workers knocking down a building containing asbestos without the proper controls in place.
Fivestar Demolition and Render Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court 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 Victoria 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,” Nielsen said.
“Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace and must also comply with laws relating to asbestos removal.”