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October 22, 2018

Not testing for asbestos got boss $40k fine

The manager of a renovation company has been fined $40,000 for failing to test for asbestos and putting his staff in danger while renovating units in Auckland.

Peter Page from Apartment Renovation Company was ordered to pay the fine at Auckland District Court today for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that a substance was tested for asbestos.

As a result, up to 15 contractors were potentially exposed to asbestos for three months while working on units in Sandringham.

In July last year Shane Harris, a handyman employed by Page, expressed concern about whether some of the units’ textured ceiling contained asbestos.

Given he had not tested them before work began, Page should have tested them in response to the handyman’s query.

He did not and instead told Mr Harris that the ceilings had been tested and there was no asbestos.

When the handyman became concerned that his boss was giving him incorrect information, he took his own sample which tested positive for the presence of asbestos.

Page said he thought the ceilings were asbestos-free as they didn’t have sparkling material visible to the eye.

WorkSafe NZ manager of high hazards Brett Murray said only tests can show if materials contain asbestos.

“Asbestos is often mixed with other materials so it is virtually impossible to identify by eye,” he said.

“The only way to be certain that materials contain asbestos is to have them tested.”

Asbestos poses a risk if it is not properly contained, especially during building work where materials are cut or drilled.”

He reminded builders in charge that if they are alerted to the possibility of asbestos in any material, then they must have that material tested.

NZN

Excerpt from:  

Not testing for asbestos got boss $40k fine

Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check

Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check

ELESHA EDMONDS

Last updated 13:26, December 12 2014

An Auckland renovation company manager has been fined $40,000 after he failed to test ceilings at a worksite for asbestos. 

Peter Page, the manager of Apartment Renovation Company, was sentenced today at Auckland District Court on charges laid by WorkSafe of not taking all practical steps to test a substance for asbestos. 

Shane Harris, a handyman employed by the company, raised concern after noticing Page did not test for asbestos before they began work on 10 units at a site in the Auckland suburb of Sandringham. 

Page told Harris he had tested the ceiling and had found there was no asbestos, but when Harris took his own sample it tested positive for the presence of asbestos. 

As a result of Page’s actions, up to 15 contractors were potentially exposed to asbestos over three months. 

Asbestos dust can cause breathing difficulties or even lung cancer if it is inhaled.

Page claimed he thought the textured ceilings were asbestos-free, as they did not have sparkling material visible to the eye.

However Brett Murray, general manager of High Hazards and Specialist Services, said it was a recommended practice to test for asbestos.

“Asbestos is often mixed with other material so it is virtually impossible to identify by eye,” he said. 

“The only way to be certain that materials contain asbestos is to have them tested.” 


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Page was fined $40,000 under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and Health and Safety in Employment Regulations. 


– Stuff

View original – 

Fined for failing to conduct asbestos check

Asbestos risk closes school for another week

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

The potential for asbestos contamination at a primary school will keep students away until at least Thursday next week.

Bayfield School in Auckland’s Herne Bay closed on Thursday last week after tests showed the possibility that asbestos dust had drifted outside a contained worksite on the school grounds.

Students were kept home from school on Friday and this week they had been attending nearby Ponsonby Primary School, where they were being taught in the school hall and additional classrooms.

Bayfield Board of Trustees’ chairman David McPherson said in a statement today that the school would be closed until all demolition work was completed.

The school was demolishing classrooms on site due to leaky building problems, and the school swimming pool was also being removed.

“The safety of our students and teaching staff is paramount, so we won’t re-open the school until we are assured, through the Board’s independent review process, that the site is safe,” Mr McPherson said.

Once the school is re-opened, building would not go ahead until the board could verify the work would be undertaken safely, he said.

Two investigations were underway into the process of the asbestos removal.

“We will await the results of these investigations, which will also be shared with the community,” Mr McPherson said.

“In fairness to the various parties involved in those investigations it is important that we don’t jump to conclusions about the process that was undertaken.”

An asbestos-contaminated building was demolished during the school holidays, however the demolished material was not removed from the school site until Friday last week.

There was concern that during that time asbestos dust had travelled from the work site to the rest of the school grounds.

APNZ

See original article here:  

Asbestos risk closes school for another week

School shut down over asbestos risk

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

An Auckland primary school has been shut down by its board of trustees due to an asbestos risk.

The decision to close Bayfield School in Herne Bay was made last night to mitigate the risk of asbestos dust from a nearby building site where demolition and asbestos removal work was being carried out.

The decision was made by its board of trustees following meetings with the school’s principal Sheryl Fletcher, the Ministry of Education, project contractors and Work Safe NZ – the organisation responsible for health and safety on the building works.

In a statement, school representatives said in those meetings, the board sought assurance from the project team that health and safety issues associated with the agreed project plan for the removal of asbestos were being adequately dealt with.

The ministry was the contract counterparty on the work and the board’s role was that of an observer, the statement said.

“To date we have been satisfied with the process being applied but during the course of today we have become increasingly concerned with the position.

“This concern has been borne out by a number of tests carried out that indicated the possibility that asbestos dust exists outside the fenced area of works.”

Testing by Work Safe NZ last night confirmed asbestos within the fenced area, however further testing was needed to confirm that the area outside the fences was asbestos-free.

That testing is due to be carried out today, and while it may ultimately show that the site was safe, board representatives stated they were not satisfied with the school remaining open until that could be proven.

It was likely the school would be closed until Monday at the earliest, school representatives said.

A meeting with parents to discuss the issue was being planned. Board members were due to meet with ministry representatives this morning to obtain health and safety information that could be circulated to parents.

Bayfield School is a decile 10 school with around 380 Year 1 to Year 6 students.

APNZ

Taken from: 

School shut down over asbestos risk