A beekeeping business was charged with carrying out work involving asbestos contrary to section 419(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. On 23 April 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court.
The defendant conducted a business or undertaking which included the sale of beekeeping equipment, and the production, packaging, and sale of pure raw Australian honey.
In or around December 2017, the defendant imported 20 Bee Smoker units from China. On or around 14 December 2018, Work Health and Safety Queensland (‘WHSQ’) were notified by the Australian Border Force that similar Bee Smoker units were imported by another company and suspected to contain Asbestos Containing Material (‘ACM’).
On 8 January 2019, a WHSQ Inspector attended the defendant’s workplace located at Rothwell and located one imported Bee Smoker unit in the rear storeroom. After observing a fibrous insulation board attached to the handle of the Bee Smoker unit the Inspector obtained one sample of the insulation board. Subsequent analysis confirmed that the material contained ACM.
Section 419(2) of the WHS Regulation defines work involving asbestos to include, notwithstanding other tasks, the storing of asbestos or ACM. In storing the Bee Smoker unit in the rear storeroom of its workplace, the defendant carried out work involving asbestos.
On 6 November 2019, an infringement notice was issued to the defendant company in the amount of $3,600. The defendant elected to contest the infringement notice and have the matter dealt with by a court.
In sentencing the defendant, Magistrate Woodford took into account the defendant’s plea of guilty, noting that it was a late plea that was indicated the day before trial, but that the defendant was still entitled to some benefit in that regard. His Honour took into account the absence of any prior convictions for similar offending.
His Honour accepted that the appropriate fine was $3,600, being the amount of the infringement notice issued to the defendant.
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Regulation 419(1) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011