SafeWork NSW is urging homeowners to ensure they take the necessary safety precautions after the owner of a Sefton property was left with a $9,000 asbestos clean-up bill when an unlicensed handyman demolished a garage at his property.

The property owner engaged the handyman to remove the garage as part of renovations at the property in Helen Street.

Instead of demolishing the garage piece-by-piece, the handyman broke up the fibro sheets, leaving asbestos debris scattered throughout the property, putting at risk the health of the occupant and neighbours who could have inhaled airborne asbestos fibres.

In a further act of recklessness, the handyman mowed the area where the asbestos fragments had fallen, potentially scattering more fragments.

After becoming aware of the issue, SafeWork NSW directed the property owner to remediate the property – with a subsequent bill of $9,000. SafeWork also fined the handyman for unlicensed asbestos removal work.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said the incident was a reminder to property owners to only use qualified asbestos removalists licensed by SafeWork NSW.

“In NSW, there are legal requirements regarding asbestos management, its removal and disposal,” Mr Dunphy said.

“The licensed removalist will notify SafeWork about the asbestos that is being removed and ensure all asbestos likely to be disturbed by demolition work is identified and safely removed.

“The actions of the handyman are completely unacceptable and SafeWork NSW has taken action against him for placing people’s health at risk.

“Protect yourself, your family and your neighbours by always following the legal and safety requirements for the management of asbestos, including engaging a SafeWork NSW licensed asbestos removalist,” he said.

The SafeWork NSW website includes a list of licensed asbestos removalists or call 1800 Asbestos (1800 272 378) for asbestos safety advice.

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