A sentencing in the Lower Hutt District Court on Friday 12th February has highlighted the importance of identifying and managing asbestos at a demolition site.
Upper Hutt-based company Hutt Construction 2013 Limited was fined $26,812.50 and ordered to pay $7,500 in reparations for failing to properly identify and manage asbestos at a demolition site. Its sole director and shareholder, Philip Delaney, was convicted and discharged.
Demolition work of a building at Marlborough Street in Silverstream, Upper Hutt was carried out in January 2015. The building, which had asbestos-containing material, was situated adjacent to a preschool and a number of other properties.
Following complaints from the community, WorkSafe New Zealand shut down all work on the site. An investigation found a number of breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Hutt Construction 2013 Ltd and Mr Delaney failed to properly manage the demolition and removal of the asbestos containing material.
WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector Assessments – Central Region, Karen Davidson, says this case reinforces the need for people to be fully aware of the regulations and obligations for working with asbestos containing materials.
“Despite increased awareness, we are still seeing on average 170 workers die from asbestos-related diseases each year – mostly from the construction industry. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015, new rules around asbestos removal will be introduced, including a nationwide licensing system, starting in April. The increase in training and standards will improve the management of asbestos and help bring that number down.”
“Proper handling of asbestos containing materials helps protect the health of workers and the public,” says Karen Davidson.
For more information on the new asbestos and regulations, see here.