The Canberra builder accused of exposing a young family to asbestos is the subject of an investigation by WorkSafe ACT which could turn into a prosecution.
The ACT government could potentially strip the business’ licence if it is discovered that employees worked with the deadly substance without permission.
ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe is seeking to implement $5000 on-the-spot fines for builders who dodo not properly dispose of asbestos.
He stated that the case was such a serious breach of the Work Health and Safety Act that the case could end up in court.
”Given the level of exposure to the family I think the public would demand prosecution if a breach of health and safety laws is proven in this case,”
The new fines will be considered as part of the ACT government’s review of the Dangerous Substances Act, which is likely to be tabled in spring, with the new fine schedule to take effect from January 1.
The family whose home was contaminated says they remain shaken by the incident which forced them out of their home for three weeks after the builder, hired to renovate their bathroom, used angle grinders to cut through asbestos sheeting in the house.
The family was living in the home at the time cleaned the asbestos from surfaces in the living area and kitchen, unaware of the danger the family were in until alerted by a neighbour, who called WorkSafe.
Mr McCabe on Monday confirmed the company involved in the incident was being probed by the organisation’s serious incidents investigations team. McCabe stated that if the builder was found to have breached the WHS Act, the consequences could be quite severe. Serious breaches of the act often result in large fines and incarceration for company directors, he said.
Approximately 120 of the family’s personal items had reportedly been contaminated and had been destroyed, and that the builder had refused to refund the family’s $6000 deposit or to provide compensation.
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