Contractor fined $8,607 for potential asbestos exposure at school
Yakka Contracting Limited has been fined $8,607 after an employee broke up large sheets of cladding, with asbestos in it, at Bayfield Primary School in Herne Bay. The demolition and earth moving contracting company was sentenced in the Auckland District Court today under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
Yakka Contracting Limited was hired to assist with the demolition of a classroom block and a prefabricated building at the school. While removing non-friable asbestos cladding, the employee broke up the cladding so that no sharp edges protruded out the disposal bags. This potentially exposed him and others to asbestos fibres.
“The employee’s actions go against asbestos regulations and best practice guidelines,” says Keith Stewart, WorkSafe’s Chief Inspector.
“Asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 180 people in New Zealand every year. While those exposed to high doses of asbestos over extended periods of time are likely to be most at risk, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
“Yakka Contracting Limited should have ensured the employee was properly trained and supervised so that he did not break down the asbestos cladding,” says Keith Stewart.
“Asbestos and asbestos containing material needs to be properly disposed.”
- Asbestos is a major focus for WorkSafe.
- In December 2013, WorkSafe New Zealand organised a trans-Tasman forum on asbestos in Canterbury and in May 2014 we released an Asbestos Toolkit, a series of eight factsheets on asbestos.
www.asbestosaware.co.nz is a website on asbestos aimed at helping homeowners and DIYers understand the risks involved with asbestos and how to manage them.