The building industry is taking a cavalier attitude to handling of asbestos and potentially putting financial gain in front of their legal and moral responsibilities, according to ACT Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe.
The warning to the ACT building industry follows several recent asbestos-related incidents. One incident occurred at a residential construction site in Hackett and another involved the management of asbestos at a Boral warehouse in Fyshwick.
“I am extremely concerned at the cavalier attitude to the handling of asbestos by a small number of builders,” McCabe said.
“While the majority of people in the building industry understand only too well the dangers associated with dealing with asbestos, and the care that must be taken when handling it, a small number are ignoring the risks.
“I can only assume that these people are putting financial gain in front of their legal and moral responsibilities,” he said.
“Unfortunately, they don’t just put themselves at risk when they do so. Their workers, other tradespeople within the industry and even members of the public are all put at risk in some of these situations.”
WorkSafe ACT is already investigating several matters which could lead to prosecution through the courts, while McCabe has referred these most recent incidents to the regulator’s investigations unit.
“If you work in the building industry then there is a strong likelihood that at some stage you will encounter situations where asbestos will need to be handled,” he said.
“Putting the health and safety of members of our community at risk by taking shortcuts, be they in the interests of saving money or through general carelessness, will simply not be tolerated.”