In the pipeline - Information Blog #15 - Plumbers Melbourne - Poor Asbestos Work Practices

September 03 2014

​An example of the blasé attitude of local plumbers in Melbourne was reported recently in the  suburb of Elsternwick. In this case a bulk hot water service was being replaced in an Owners Corporation property and this work  involved the replacement of the asbestos cement flue as part of the scope of works. The asbestos flue was dumped illegally in a wastebin in a neighbouring alley and the plumber was seen in the act. His  companies name was on the work vehicle and the owner of the wastebin rang and spoke to the director of this plumbing group based in the local suburb of Brighton. It was explained that the asbestos flue was broken and it had been cut and that the young plumber had been seen legally dumping the flue. The director of this plumbing company proceeded to verbally abuse the owner of the waste bin and his verbally  aggressive behaviour only stopped when the threat was made to call worksafe. The asbestos flue was removed but several vital questions and points can be raised post this incident.

1. Who was exposed to these dangerous asbestos fibres during the works, probably the young plumber, the residents in the unit complex, and the staff who utilise the alley and waste facilities.

2. Who should be called when illegal dumping of asbestos occurs. Without doubt worksafe should be the first call.

3. Where did this old asbestos flue end up, most likely dumped illegally somewhere else.

4. Were the committee at the owners Corporation property aware of the dodgy work practice.

5. Is the director of this Brighton plumbing company concerned about his employees health.

6 Was the cost of the job more important then safety.

In our busy maintenance plumbing business our plumbers constantly work at properties where there is abestos. The most common areas we come into contact with asbestos is old hot water service flues and asbestos cement roofs and walls. We have strict procedures and policies and always instigate safe work practices, if there are any breaches of safety we discuss, educate and train our staff and make working safely with asbestos an agenda item at the next monthly Toolbox meeting.

ASBESTOS, WHO TO CALL

WorkSafe - 1300 852 562

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