asbestos trainingOnly four of WA’s 16 prisons have been identified as asbestos-free, with two facilities rated as high-risk, it has emerged.

Last month it was revealed that removing the  asbestos contamination at Hakea Prison would cost the public $2.5 million. The Department of Corrective Services has confirmed a further 11 prisons have asbestos-contamination “to some degree”.

Pardelup Prison Farm, near Mt Barker, and Roebourne Prison were both slapped with a high-risk rating.

The other contaminated jails at  medium to low-risk are as follows;  Bandyup, Bunbury, Wooroloo, Karnet, Albany, Broome, Eastern Goldfields, Greenough and Walpole Work Camp.

The department said work was required at two high-risk jails  by the end of this month.

The removal of asbestos was needed,rather than sealing and capsulation.

It said an asbestos exposure register established  in 2009 had 20 reports “from people who had potentially been exposed to asbestos”.

Shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalia stated the need for a  comprehensive register to deal with the “threat of asbestos in the older buildings”.

“Not just of people who have gone into roof spaces but, in conjunction with experts in the field, a register that is comprehensive in the event a prison officer, a prisoner or staff member is exposed and later in life succumbs to the illness,” he said.

Papalia called for health checks for prison officers and prisoners exposed or potentially exposed to asbestos.

However, the department said this was not needed nor recommended.

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said “I’m committed to ensuring that works are carried out in accordance with WorkSafe’s directions,” he said.

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