Man fined over botched asbestos removal job

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New Plymouth, NZ – A man has been fined $35,000 on Monday over health and safety charges relating to unsafe removal of asbestos.

Sometime in February 2017, he was working on a New Plymouth property to remove asbestos-containing material from a shed using hand tools to break up asbestos-containing material. He did not use a mask or proper protective clothing. There also no management of airborne asbestos particles.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s investigation found that the PCBU failed to manage the risk of asbestos appropriately, despite training and a prior improvement notice. The safety regulator was not notified of the class B removal of work.

“Asbestos is New Zealand’s number one killer in the workplace with around 170 people dying every year from asbestos-related diseases,” said WorkSafe Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services, Simon Humphries.

“Asbestos fibres can travel thousands of kilometres from a site where removal work is undertaken under certain weather conditions. Negligence is unacceptable and there is no excuse for putting the lives of others in and around your workplace at risk,” he said.

Reparation of $2580.59 was ordered for site remediation plus costs of $1297.50.

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