The hazardous nature of asbestos makes the appropriate removal, transportation and disposal of the material an essential task.
Anyone exposed to asbestos, even only briefly, can go on to develop a number of deadly diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Figures from Cancer Institute NSW showed that just 10.5 per cent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma between 2005 and 2009 were still alive five years after discovering they had the disease.
The government has therefore taken a hard line on businesses that fail to meet their obligations with regards to asbestos disposal services, as one Mudgee-based organisation found out earlier this year.
Complete Asbestos Removal and its director were forced to pay $188,000 after the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) prosecuted the business for false or misleading information about asbestos disposal.
Why was the company fined?
Cobbora Holding Company hired the organisation to demolish 12 Dunedoo properties and lawfully dispose of the subsequent waste, which included asbestos-based materials.
However, EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier said Complete Asbestos Removal committed a number of offences when working on the project.
“Complete Asbestos Removal was required to provide Cobbora Holding Company with proof of disposal of the waste and reports to certify that all visible asbestos had been removed from each property,” he explained.
“The director of the company created false asbestos clearance certificates and false weighbridge dockets purportedly recording the disposal of asbestos waste at the Mudgee and Dubbo waste facilities and provided these documents to Cobbora Holding Company.”
According to Mr Buffier, false clearance certificates were also given to the EPA while it was investigating the incident. He said businesses that fail to appropriately dispose of asbestos will receive substantial penalties.
Facing the fine
Complete Asbestos Removal was fined $24,000 for providing false or misleading information to the EPA, as well as a further $25,000 to cover the authority’s legal expenses.
Furthermore, the company’s sole director was fined $114,000 after being convicted of three offences of providing false or misleading information. The individual was also required to pay $25,000 in legal costs.
The EPA confirmed the asbestos from the Dunedoo properties has now been disposed of in the appropriate manner, adding that there was no evidence to suggest anyone was harmed due to exposure to the material. Nevertheless, people who develop deadly diseases after coming into contact with asbestos can seek compensation.
However, it’s crucial to get in touch with a lawyer to begin the process as quickly as possible because of the fast-acting nature of asbestos-related illnesses.
If you would like to discuss your options, please contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.