For national Asbestos Awareness Week this week, WorkSafe Victoria have thrown a spotlight on the recent prosecution of Victorian printing and manufacturing company, Carton Finishing Pty Ltd, fined for failing to ensure the ‘presence and location’ of asbestos in its factory was ‘clearly indicated’, as required by the Regulations.

Employers have an obligation to identify, record and (where reasonably practicable) label asbestos at workplaces, and asbestos removal licence holders have a duty to notify the regulator prior to removal work commencing, display appropriate signage, and ensure workers wear appropriate PPE.

Medical checks are mandatory for all workers engaged by licensed asbestos removalists.

WorkSafe investigated an incident at Carton Finishing where a worker sustained a serious hand injury in a gluing machine.

An inspector subsequently attended the site and issued several prohibition and improvement notices, necessitating a follow-up visit during which the inspector was advised the gluing machine was fitted with 12 insulating blocks made from an asbestos-containing material.

Tests confirmed the blocks contained chrysotile asbestos, and WorkSafe found the company hadn't complied with the asbestos clauses of the Regulations.

The company was fined a total of $40,000, plus $4,319 in costs, for the asbestos breach and for failing to prevent workers accessing dangerous areas of the gluing machine while it was operating.

Source: OHSAlert 22 November

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