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Asbestos Prosecutions Highlight the Need for Improved Safety Measures

WorkSafe New Zealand has recently highlighted the need for improved asbestos management in the country, as two court cases have shed light on gaps in current safety practices. Asbestos remains the leading cause of work-related deaths in New Zealand, with approximately 220 people dying each year from preventable asbestos-related diseases. To raise awareness of the dangers associated with asbestos, Asbestos Awareness Week is currently being observed until 26 November.

The Case of Wilson Building Timaru Limited

One of the recent prosecutions involved Wilson Building Timaru Limited. The company’s director was fined last month for the unauthorized removal of asbestos, which put workers at a high risk of exposure over several days. The company failed to seek an asbestos management plan from the building owner and did not hire a licensed expert for the removal. This case highlights the importance of following proper asbestos management procedures to ensure the safety of workers.

The Case of Inspired Enterprises Limited

Another case that came to light earlier this year involved Inspired Enterprises Limited. The company was sentenced for mishandling flooring containing asbestos. The customer’s quote did not mention the possibility of asbestos, and there was no asbestos management plan in place. This situation further emphasizes the need for businesses to be proactive in identifying and managing asbestos risks.

Best Practices for Asbestos Management

These recent cases serve as a reminder that businesses in New Zealand have a responsibility to manage the risks associated with asbestos exposure. To ensure workplace safety, it is crucial to have an asbestos management plan in place when asbestos or asbestos-containing materials have been identified or are likely to be present. This plan should involve the engagement of licensed experts for asbestos removal and proper communication with all parties involved.

Preventing Asbestos-Related Diseases

The health consequences of asbestos exposure are a result of past negligence, often occurring in the workplace. Taking immediate action and implementing proper safety measures can help prevent future harm. WorkSafe New Zealand provides a wealth of advice and guidance online regarding the management of asbestos-related risks. By following these guidelines, businesses can protect their workers and prevent the development of asbestos-related diseases.

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By prioritizing asbestos management and following best practices, businesses can create safer working environments and protect their employees from the risks associated with asbestos exposure.

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