skip navigation

Prosecution Details

Defendant Baum Pty Ltd
Trading Name Global Machinery and Scrap Metal
Section 19(1)(b) and 19(6)
Regulation Not Applicable
Offence Date Monday, 30 June 1997
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed as far as was practicable to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and in particular failed to provide such information, instruction and supervision of its employees as was necessary to enable them to perform their work in such a manner that they were not exposed to hazards.

Background Details

The defendant had purchased at auction two boilers and two chillers from the old Coles Store in Hay Street, Perth. Two employees were instructed to prepare the boilers and chillers for removal.

The two employees proceeded to cut up the chillers in the plant room and some time later had to stop work because of fumes. They then proceeded to commence work on the boiler. In order to cut the flue one of the employees removed the insulation material from around the base of the flue with a claw hammer. The employees were not aware at this stage that the material was asbestos.

The next day an asbestos removalist employed by Cosko Developments came into the area and alerted the workers to the probable presence of asbestos.

Later, tests confirmed the presence of amosite and chrysotile asbestos within the insulating material that had been broken away.

His Worship, Mr G N Calder SM, stated that he was satisfied that nothing which the defendant said to either of his employees "at any time prior to the two men commencing work on the site, did in fact or was capable of conveying to those two employees that the insulation material was, or may contain, asbestos or any hazardous substance, or that the reasons for his instruction to bag and tape the insulation before cutting or for his instructions to cut it where directed by him was in any way connected with their safety or welfare, or with the actual or potential presence of any hazardous substance."

His Worship further stated in the conclusions to his decision that ôit is incumbent upon the employer to not only tell an employee not to do something, but, where the reason for not doing that thing is one which relates to the employer's duty of compliance with section 19 of the Act, and where the presence of the hazard is not self-evident or is not, to the knowledge or reasonable belief of the employer known or likely to be known to the employee, to, in addition, inform the employee that the reasons for the instruction being given is connected with the avoidance of exposure to a hazard in carrying out the task being undertaken. That is particularly so where the hazard is one of exposure to a very serious heath risk such as inhalation of asbestos fibre.

The defendant pleaded not guilty. The penalty was imposed under section 19(6).

Lead Image
Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 23 Feb 2000
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $15,000
Costs $2,500
Charge Number 48348/99