Prosecutions

ASBESTOS PROSECUTION FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL DUMPING

A Victorian based contractor has been convicted and fined close to $300,000 after dumping asbestos contaminated material at a primary school in Melbourne's south east.

The contractor had been tasked with building a soccer pitch for the school using clean fill waste. But instead, the company brought in more than 100 loads contaminated with asbestos and other waste.

In 2015, Concrete Concepts (Vic) Pty Ltd was contracted to build the pitch at Syndal South Primary School, based on clean fill, but instead brought in more than 100 loads contaminated with asbestos, bricks, pipes, glass, electrical cables and metal.

Asbestos removalists subsequently had remove more than 5000 tonnes of asbestos contaminated material over two years at a cost of one and a half million dollars.

Source: ABC News, Melbourne, Drive, Sarah Hall, 15 August 5:07pm Secondary source: Herald Sun, 16 August

SA: PCBU SENTENCED OVER DEATH, RECEIVES $300K-PLUS FINE

A manufacturing company that used its own personnel to perform a high-risk maintenance task, without obtaining appropriate safety equipment or expert help, has been convicted and fined $100,000 over the death of a worker in a 6.5-metre fall.

In the South Australian Employment Tribunal Deputy President Judge Miles Crawley reprimanded Maverick Steel Pty Ltd for not providing any safety equipment for the high-risk height task, noting it could have a hired a fall arrest harness for less than $700.

The incident occurred in December 2019 at Maverick Steel's Port Adelaide worksite. The company's director and a worker were replacing roof sheets on the company's rented premises when the worker fell through an unprotected roof void and landed on the concrete floor 6.5 metres below, sustaining fatal injuries.

Judge Crawley questioned the company's assertion it was a "good corporate citizen", noting the director worked full-time for the business but avoided paying tax through his remuneration structure, and Maverick Steel paid its full-time workers as subcontractors, thereby avoiding "any liability for sick and annual leave, superannuation and [workers' compensation] premiums".

He directed the PCBU to: arrange for one of its workers to undertake a Certificate IV in WHS; and supply and pay for the installation of a shed (with a memorial plaque for the killed worker) to a service that helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons learn trade and WHS skills.

Source: OHS Alert, 10 August 2022 Campbell v Maverick Steel Pty Ltd (ACN 058 431 851) [2022] SAET 101 (4 August 2022)

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