Who Does What in Asbestos

THE INFORMATION BELOW IS INTENDED AS A GUIDE ONLY. THE HANDLING OF ANY GIVEN COMPLAINT WILL DEPEND UPON THE SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH CASE.

I want to know:

I am concerned about:

Example scenarios

EXAMPLE No. 1

An individual came across a pile of rubbish at a local reserve, and believed some of the rubbish may have been broken asbestos cement sheet.

WHO TO CALL

In this case, the individual ought to call the local council.

POSSIBLE OUTCOME

Council may inspect the rubbish to determine if it could be asbestos, and will then arrange to clean it up.

EXAMPLE NO. 2

An individual came across a very large pile of rubbish dumped on the side of the road, which looked to include asbestos debris. The size of the pile indicated that it had been dumped by a truck.

WHO TO CALL

In this case, the individual ought to call the EPA hotline on 1300 372 842.

POSSIBLE OUTCOME

EPA may contact the road owner and the road owner will arrange the clean-up. EPA may investigate the dumping site depending upon the scale.

EXAMPLE No. 3

A resident was concerned about the removal of a deteriorating shed on a neighbour’s property. The resident had not received any advice that asbestos removal was to take place, and was concerned that because the shed had been erected before 1990, it was likely to have asbestos present.

WHO TO CALL

If the neighbour had engaged a contractor to do the building works, the resident ought to call the WorkSafe advisory line on 1800 136 089. All neighbours immediately adjacent to the property undergoing the building works ought to have been notified about asbestos removal.

If the neighbour was removing the shed by themselves, then the resident ought to call their local council and provide full details including the size of the shed and the concern about asbestos being present.

POSSIBLE OUTCOME

If WorkSafe is contacted, an inspector may visit the property to see if the contractor is complying with the Occupational Health and Safety regulations, including being licensed to remove asbestos where required. Where contravention(s) are identified an improvement notice or a prohibition notice may be issued; this may require works to cease until compliance can be achieved.

If Council is contacted, an investigation will be conducted where the neighbour may be asked to cease works or be provided advice on how to minimise the risks of asbestos exposure and ensure the asbestos waste is packaged correctly and taken to a licensed waste facility.

EXAMPLE No. 4

A resident was concerned about a deteriorating shared fence, and had tried to engage the owner of the neighbouring property many times about repairing it. Communicating with the owner was difficult as the property was rented out.

The resident was very concerned that because it was an asbestos-cement fence, it posed an exposure risk. Due to the gaps in the fence, it also meant that the resident’s dog could not be left outside in the yard as it wasn’t secure.

WHO TO CALL

In this case, the resident ought to call their local council and provide full details of the issue, highlighting the concern about broken asbestos sheeting.

POSSIBLE OUTCOME

Council may issue an improvement notice, which provides a deadline for repairs to be made and the structure to be made safe. Failure to comply with the improvement notices may result in further enforcement actions.

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