SafeWork released the statement after receiving reports of incidents, including one earlier this year where tradies were caught using high-pressure water blasters to clean roofs at two northern beach properties and a Central Coast commercial complex.
These offences can incur fines of $3,600 for individuals, and $18,000 for body corporates.
“Using these blasters can disturb asbestos and release dangerous fibres that can pose a health risk to the user and people living or working in neighbouring properties,” says SafeWork NSW executive director Peter Dunphy.
“We don’t need careless behaviour like this creating an unnecessary risk to people’s health. These individuals just don’t seem to be heeding our warnings so let this be a message that we will be taking strong action against anyone not doing the right thing.”
If left undisturbed, asbestos materials in a good, stable condition are unlikely to release dangerous fibres and pose a health risk. However, if asbestos is disturbed – during renovations or maintenance for instance – it can create a health risk from the inhalation of airborne fibres.
SafeWork NSW recommends property owners only use qualified asbestos removalists licensed by SafeWork NSW to ensure asbestos is safely and properly removed.
“If you must work with material that may contain asbestos or remove asbestos, it’s critical you protect yourself and your family by managing it according to our safety standards,” says Peter.