Consumer warning about asbestos removal conman (David or Davic Back / Southside Asbestos)
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WorkSafe and Consumer Protection have issued a joint warning about a conman who is masquerading as a licensed asbestos removal expert, leaving consumers dangerously exposed to asbestos as well as out of pocket.
David Leslie Patrick Back, also known as Davic and trading as Southside Asbestos Removals or Southside Asbestos and Demolition (both unregistered), has accepted payment for work either not carried out or completed and, on two occasions, has dangerously left exposed asbestos for the home owner to remove.
Mr Back, who advertises on Gumtree, claims to be approved by WorkSafe and quotes licence and registration numbers on his business card which are false. Mr Back does not hold an approved licence for the removal of asbestos.
A total of nine consumers have lodged complaints against Mr Back; three were received in February and March 2015 and one in June 2015. Mr Back’s whereabouts are unknown as his business names are not registered; he gives false addresses; he uses multiple mobile phone numbers and claims to operate from multiple suburbs.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe is concerned about his activities and urges consumers not to have any dealings with Mr Back or Southside Asbestos.
“Consumers who have been approached by Mr Back or have responded to his advertising are advised not to engage his services. Not being licensed means he may not have the necessary skills or training to remove the asbestos safely,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Anyone who has information about Mr Back’s whereabouts, or may have had recent dealings with him, should contact either Consumer Protection or WorkSafe immediately to report this information.
”We are very keen to locate Mr Back and put a stop to his dangerously deceptive and incompetent behaviour which is jeopardising the health and safety of consumers and the wider community.”
WorkSafe WA Executive Director Lex McCulloch said, to remove material containing asbestos in WA, a licence is generally required from WorkSafe.
“Asbestos is considered a hazardous material so people who work with asbestos must be trained in the safe way of handling, transporting and disposing of it,” Mr McCulloch said.
“Only a licence holder, or an employee of a licence holder, is allowed to carry out the removal of asbestos. Only if the asbestos is bonded, or not broken, and the amount is under ten square metres can it be removed without a licence.
“Before organising for asbestos removal on their property, consumers and businesses should check on the WorkSafe website to ensure that the company or tradesperson they intend to use to carry out the work has the appropriate licence, if required.”
A list of licensed asbestos removalists in WA is available at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au/asbestos-licence where there is also information about the licensing requirements. Enquiries can be made at WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or Consumer Protection 1300 30 40 54.
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