Contractor spreads asbestos during roof repairs

Friday, 31 August, 2018

Contractor spreads asbestos during roof repairs

Asbestos containing material (ACM) was allegedly spread throughout a property after a contractor used a high-pressure water spray on a roof.

According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, the contractor had been engaged to clean and repaint the roof in April 2018.

After the water spray was used, ACM debris was distributed throughout part of the property and the neighbouring property.

The site was made safe, including an area where run-off from the roof downpipes had resulted in ACM debris being deposited into the road guttering.

The contractor was issued an improvement notice to remediate the site through an A Class licensed asbestos removalist.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will monitor the site until the work is complete and relevant clearances obtained.

In an incident alert, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said that a PCBU has a duty to ensure that workers and others are not exposed to the risk of airborne asbestos. The person with management or control of the workplace (PMCW) must take all reasonable steps to ensure that any ACM has been identified at the workplace. If the PMCW cannot identify ACM, but a competent person reasonably believes materials may contain asbestos, then the PMCW must assume asbestos is present.

The PMCW must also ensure that the presence and location of asbestos is indicated, and an asbestos register and an asbestos management plan is kept at the workplace.

The incident alert goes on to say that in buildings constructed before 1990, it is likely asbestos will be present in roofing and other sheet materials used in the construction of the building. Control measures that may be considered to prevent airborne asbestos fibres include:

  • not disturbing roofing materials that may contain asbestos
  • not using a high-pressure water spray or any other powered equipment to clean an asbestos roof
  • using a chemical fungicide, sealant and then acrylic roof paint
  • replacing the ACM materials or roof sheeting.

Where there is a need to remove more than 10 m² of non-friable asbestos, a licensed asbestos removalist must be engaged.

Image credit: © Rani

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