Deceitful Builder first to be fined under NZ Asbestos Regulation

Richard John Knight - Fine too low?

In February 2017, prosecuted under ss 206 (1) (a), (b) and 3 (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 Richard John Knight was fined $3000 at the Christchurch District Court.

Worksafe found Knight not only was working without a Class A removal license - which ensures he is a competent person engaged to carry out the work, Knight also failed to obtain the certification required for the work he completed.

Knight failed to safely manage the risk of asbestos during the asbestos process at the Riccarton building, did not decontaminate equipment used in the demolition and failed to wear appropriate protective equipment and allowed other people to enter the house unprotected.

Worksafe said this sentencing was the first of its kind under the New Zealand new Asbestos Regulations, which set stricter rules on licensing.

"Knight was deceitful and dangerous and we don't need these sorts of people working in the construction industry" - said Worksafes head of specialist interventions Simon Humphries.

In the UK, a contractor on a school refurbish project and a construction firm were fined a total of NZ$216,000 after exposing workers for a subcontractor to asbestos fibres.  A licensed asbestos removal company was used in this case but failure was found in its planning, managing and monitoring of the work.

ASBESTOS is classified as Group1 carcinogen by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), meaning it is seen as a definite cause of cancer in humans.  Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause chronic lung diseases like lung cancer, cancer of the lining of the lungs and lower digestive tract, and asbestosis (serious scarring condition of the lung causing progressive shortness of breath).  According to the World Health Organisation, approximately half of all occupational cancer deaths are caused by asbestosSource: IOSH


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