TWO Ballarat businesses that failed to take appropriate safety measures when dealing with asbestos materials were fined yesterday.
The father and son owners of Ballarat Garden Supplies and Enviropine Timbers appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court, where they pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The court heard Ballarat Garden Supplies, owned and operated by Brendon Lovell, performed asbestos removal work on January 22 this year that was not permitted under regulations.
Worksafe prosecutor Mai Pham said asbestos material in a shed at the workplace was removed so that it was no longer fixed to the shed.
Ms Pham told the court Enviropine Timbers, owned by Jeffrey Lovell, was charged after failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health.
“The accused failed to ensure that the asbestos present was identified,” Ms Pham said. “The accused failed to assume that the asbestos was present at the workplace and failed to arrange for analysis of a sample to be undertaken.”
The court heard Enviropine is the sole proprietor of the property at 319-323 Vickers Street, Sebastopol.
A lawyer acting for both men told the court they had never known the shed contained asbestos material.
He said there was asbestos sheeting within internal walls of the shed, which had been covered over with corrugated iron.
Magistrate Michelle Hodgson accepted that the father and son had little knowledge of the asbestos, but warned it was still a serious matter.
“The removal of asbestos in a suitable manner is very important, not only to the people working on site, but also the community,” Ms Hodgson said.
“Such unsafe work practices won’t be tolerated by the courts.”
Ballarat Garden Supplies was fined $6000, while Enviropine Timbers was fined $2000.
Both men were also ordered to pay statutory costs of $1574.