On Wednesday 25 May 2022, SafeWork SA suspended the class B asbestos removal licence of a South Australian asbestos removalist and demolition contractor.

As the work health and safety regulator, SafeWork SA monitor and enforce compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA).

Evidence obtained demonstrated the business failed to remove all asbestos from a workplace, did not decontaminate the area where asbestos had been removed, and did not receive a clearance inspection to verify the area was safe before commencing the demolition. Each of these actions created a serious health and safety risk in the workplace.

This company had a history of failing to ensure the work or other activities authorised by the licence was carried out safely and competently.

When making the decision, SafeWork SA considered the company’s:

  • failure to notify the person with management or control of the workplace to the presence of asbestos
  • false and misleading asbestos removal notification
  • failure to receive a clearance certificate following licensed asbestos removal work
  • failure to remove ACM, including friable asbestos prior to commencing demolition
  • history of repeated contraventions
  • ability to protect workers and members of the public from exposure to asbestos.

The licence holder was also fined $2,220 for failing to give the person who commissioned the work a copy of the asbestos removal control plan.

SafeWork SA will suspend, cancel or refuse a person’s licence renewal in order to address inappropriate conduct or practices. Such action is a protective measure to protect the health and safety of workers and the community.

SafeWork SA is currently undertaking a state wide proactive compliance campaign on asbestos management, including demolition and refurbishment.

Businesses with management or control of structures or plant, installed or fixed before 31 December 2003, need to be aware of their obligations with asbestos regulations.

Information on asbestos can be found on the South Australian Government asbestos website which provides practical information about asbestos, how to identify it, and how to have it safely removed.