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SafeWork SA gains successful conviction against unlicenced asbestos removalist

Media Release
15 November 2019

The Industrial Court has convicted and fined Anthony Rosier, who formerly traded as Eco Asbestos Removal, a total of $8,100 plus costs for unlicensed asbestos removal.

SafeWork SA prosecuted Rosier for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 and associated Regulations by removing 94m² of asbestos containing material without appropriate licencing in November 2017 and failing to ensure that appropriate signage alerting the public to the presence of asbestos was put in place to indicate that this work was being carried out.

Legislation in South Australia dictates such work can only be completed by a person with a Class A or Class B asbestos removal licence.

Rosier admitted he was aware that he was not licensed in November 2017 and was aware that the work involved the removal of asbestos but proceeded with the demolition work regardless.

Previously in April 2016, Rosier was sentenced in relation to seven offences relating to the unlawful removal of asbestos without a licence. As a result, he received a fine of $24,000 and was disqualified for applying for an asbestos licence for a period of three years. He has also been prosecuted in the Environment, Resources and Development Court for asbestos-related offences in 2008, 2017 and 2018.

SafeWork SA has further prohibited Rosier from obtaining a Class B Asbestos Removal licence for a further five years.

SafeWork SA Executive Director, Martyn Campbell said the judgement should send a clear message to businesses that non-compliance with asbestos regulations will not be tolerated.

“SafeWork SA reminds all duty holders involved in the demolition or refurbishment of a structure or plant that was installed or fixed before 31 December 2003 that they must comply with asbestos regulations.”

“We also remind businesses that before demolition or refurbishment work is carried out at the workplace, the relevant asbestos removal licencing and notifications are adhered to.

Mr Campbell further stated, “SafeWork SA take asbestos removal very seriously as it is a risk to public health and safety. I believe that the fine issued to Mr Rosier appropriately reflects the nature of the offence and his repeated blatant disregard for following regulations.”

Deputy President Industrial Magistrate Lieschke noted that in determining the penalty, he took into account the extent of harm done in not being licensed and the matter in which the work was carried out. In particular his Honour noted:

“The failure to be licensed against a background of [Rosier’s] licence being cancelled for good cause, means the defendant was not able to be monitored or audited regarding his asbestos related work.”

“…a need for individual deterrence is called for. This is because the defendant has continued to offend despite very significant previous fines.”

“General deterrence is also an important sentencing consideration given the prevalence of asbestos containing material in the built environment, its potentially lethal consequences and the ease of an unlicensed offender avoiding detection.”

Rosier faced a maximum fine of $20,000 for removal of more than 10m² of asbestos without holding the appropriate asbestos licence and a fine of $6,000 for failing to ensure appropriate signage was in place. The total penalty ordered against Rosier, $8,100, takes into account all circumstances including the defendant’s early guilty plea, significant prior offending regarding asbestos, existing fines imposed and the defendant’s reported poor financial circumstances.

A checklist is available to assist businesses who commission refurbishment or demolition work at the SA Government asbestos website.