Asbestos Incident Leads to $60k Fine


An asbestos incident involving a Canberra earthmoving company has resulted in a $60,000 fine for the company.

The ACT Industrial Court originally convicted the company and issued an $80,000 fine however it was reduced to $60,000, taking into consideration the company’s guilty plea.

The breach led to an uncontrolled release of dust because of insufficient water suppression, a WorkSafe ACT inspector said.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe working environment due to the insufficient water suppression before demolition began. It also failed to provide effective means of communication between excavator operators and ground workers.


Safety Blitz to Focus on Demolition

WorkSafe inspectors will be visiting over 800 demolition and construction sites over the course of the month in Victoria, focusing on dangerous and sub-standard demolition work.

WorkSafe, through its Construction Program Manager, Dermot Moody, said any companies that weren’t following the appropriate safety procedures were putting workers lives at risk, during this high risk undertaking.

He explained that those in charge should meet their health and safety responsibilities or face the consequences.

If procedures aren’t up to standards, work on the site will be immediately halted. Some of the areas that inspectors will be paying particular attention to includes, site security, traffic management, working at height, isolation services, asbestos identification and removal, public protection, safe removal of hazardous substances, structural stability at each stage of demolition.

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Company Gets $45,000 Fine over Workplace Injury


A Melbourne demolition company was recently fined $45,000 for an incident that left one worker with an amputated leg.

The worker’s leg was crushed when the worker was helping load a piece of concrete into the bucket of a machine when the bucket tipped, crushing the man’s leg which he then had to have amputated.

WorkSafe said all employers should prioritise the safety of their workers, especially on high risk work sites such as demolition sites.

Workers need to be trained adequately, beginning with white card training and site specific training. Young and inexperienced workers should also be supervised.

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Watch as 116 Excavators Demolish an Overpass

It took just one night for Chinese construction workers to demolish a 24 year old overpass bridge in Nanchang, which is a city east of China’s Jiangxi Province.

The bridge was dismantled using just 116 excavators to make way for the a new subway line to be built.

The optimization of the demolish plan has been praised as highly efficient, not even affecting traffic.

Watch the video below to see how they did it.


Concerns About Asbestos Fibres Being Released During Concrete Recycling

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There have been concerns raised about the government’s incentives for recycling construction and demolition waste given the risk of asbestos fibres being released during the process.

The state governnment is offering local governments financial incentives to use recycled construction materials in civil projects including roads, drains and car parks.

The $10million incentive was announced last Sepptember and has been promoted as an alternative to burying waste in landfills, however some industry insiders are concerned about the amount of asbestos that may be in recycled products from old buildings. Asbestos fibres may be released during the concrete crushing process.

According to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, while there is a risk of asbestos being released during the concrete crushing process, ideally asbestos should be removed before demolition begins, although this is not always the case.


Why Mesothelioma is a Risk Among Construction Workers


Construction products in the past contained asbestos, which exposed the construction workers working with them to the deadly asbestos fibres which  over time can cause mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.

Those buildings constructed before 1980 are likely to still have asbestos in the walls, insulation and roofing mateials which can be released when construction and renovation work is being undertaken.

When left undisturbed, asbestos products do not present a huge threat, but when disturbed, the fibres are released into the air and can be  inhaled by workers or anyone else who happens to be around. Demolition work is particularly high risk.

Unfortunately mesothelioma rates in Australia are high and thousands of workers have lost their lives due to the disease.

Read more about the disease and what can be done at

Top Down Demolition May Minimise Hazards

Bluevale in Glasgow, Scotland being demolished from the top down.

Italy based company Despe’s TopDownWay demolition system is a method that apparently takes down towers faster and removes the need for scaffolding, making demolition safer.

Stefano Panseri, CEO of Despe explained that a self-descending demolition system which his company has created, can support itself on the existing columns of the building, doing away with the need for scaffolding or implosions.

Read more about it here.