Court Orders $327,000 Payout For Asbestos Victim

Asbestos TrainingBy court order, a former power station worker is expected to be paid  $327,000 in compensation for asbestos exposure which resulted in Mesothelioma.

Allan Geyer is dying from the asbestos-caused disease after being exposed to the deadly substance at the Electricity Trust of South Australia (now Resi Corporation). He was was employed by the power station for over 30 years as a welder and boiler maker.

The District Court found ETSA was cognasant of the danger and are therefore liable for exemplary damages under the state’s Dust Diseases Act.

Annie Hoffman, Geyer’s solicitor stated that the man was relieved to have reached a result from the case.

“Mr Geyer was actually starting chemotherapy treatment the day that we received the judgment, so he was quite emotional when I gave him the call to tell him that he’d won the case against ETSA,” she said.

The award of $327,000 included $20,000 in exemplary damages, a provision allowed under the Act when a plaintiff can prove there was a known risk of exposure to asbestos.

Terry Miller of the Asbestos Victims Association embraced the judgement.

“Many thousands of ETSA employees up until the 1990s were exposed to asbestos dust in power stations around the state,” he said.

“This decision shows that ETSA knew of the dangers of exposure to asbestos and did not tell or protect its workers.

“People like Mr Geyer are dying as a result.”

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-04/former-power-station-worker-wins-asbestos-disease-payout/4934122

Bellevue Hill School Closed Once Again For Asbestos Risk

Asbestos concerns have struck Bellevue Hill once again, after a fragment of fibro material was discovered at a local primary school’s children’s playground.

Bellevue Hill Public School issued an email to parents last week, alerting them of the asbestos discovery. This is the second time this year that the playground has been investigated for asbestos contamination. In March, similar small fibro fragments were discovered at the site.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the playground will be closed off to students until further notice.

Anna Starostina’s children frequently use the playground. She said “It came as quite a shock to hear it had happened again because we had been assured by council that the site had been cleared,” she said.

“It hasn’t been that long since it happened the first time- I just hope something hasn’t been overlooked, because this material is just sitting on the surface, right where the kids play.”

Asbestos tests  on the most recent sample were revealed to be positive for asbestos.

A council spokeswoman said that given the isolated fragment had been safely removed and with further investigation of the site under way, there was no need to close the playground at this stage.

“We will take advice from the consultants and if we need to take further action we will,” she said.

“If we are advised of any risk to public safety we will move quickly to close the playground.”

Woollahra Council will conduct weekly inspections of all its park and recreation sites.

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Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/city-east/asbestos-puts-bellevue-hill-playground-out-of-bounds/story-fngr8h22-1226717017968

 

Asbestos Training: Law Changes For Home Asbestos Victims

asbestos trainingProposed amendments to the laws pertaining to home asbestos victims may make it easier for them to seek compensation.

The potential changes would reform common law compensation for asbestos victims and their families not covered by workers comp– including home renovators.

President of the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation, Simon Cocker, called for improvements to compensation levels, and the time limits to apply for damages.  Cocker recalled that companies had used the deadly material for decades in Tasmania housing prior to knowing it was a serious health risk.

“Tasmania has had a number of people die and suffer due to asbestos illness,” he said.

“We know that there is going to be more and we think that the system should deliver fair and reasonable compensation to these people, and it hasn’t.”

Mr Cocker remarked on the importance of providing home asbestos victims with fair compensation.

“People have been poisoned by asbestos for 40 years in Tasmania and it’s only fair and reasonable that they should have access to common law compensation if they don’t have a workers compensation claim.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-22/law-changes-proposed-to-help-home-asbestos-victions-seek-compen/4905158

Asbestos Training:NBN Rollout Delayed

asbestos trainingThe company responsible for the National Broadband Network (NBN) has attained the services of accounting firm Erns & Young. The firm will look into status of the rollout, following the  asbestos discovery that occurred at a few sites. The issues are expected to  o delay the  process by  approximately 3 months.

Ernst & Young have been commissioned by NBN to test their own business plan against forecasts released in May and June.

Although the delay on work at the Telstra pits may be delayed by a few months, it is reported that it did not affect the project’s costs and revenues.

NBN Co drafted a corporate plan to submit to the federal government, but they advised them that the draft would need to be revised once the impact of the safety issue was fully examined.

The delay essentially guarantees  the corporate plan will not released ahead of the  the September 7 federal election.

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Source: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/8/14/telecommunications/asbestos-delay-nbn-rollout

Monitors Hired to Head Asbestos Removal Process

asbestos removal in progress signOver a dozen monitors are expected to be hired to check the removal process of asbestos in Telstra pits prior to handing a report into the independent Asbestos Taskforce.

This initiative  was formed in conjunction with the IAT, will ensure that work on the NBN rollout where asbestos is a risk, is handing in a safe manner that safeguards employees, contractors, and the local community.

The taskforce  launched by Australian Government in June to in response to the asbestos scare caused during the Telstra NBN Rollout.

Asbestos training is being provided to all Telstra employees. Any personnel working in Telstra pits will be properly trained in asbestos removal and handling of asbestos-containing materials.

Telstra and NBN Co have also confirmed that they are close to releasing their competency card that employees, contractors and subcontractors will have to keep on their persons in order certify they are fully trained.

All work on pits with asbestos risks present, will continue once the training has been completed.

The taskforce has come together on several occasions, and is headed by Geoff Fary (Chair, Asbestos Management Review). The taskforce’s membership includes representatives from Telstra, NBN Co, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), Comcare, industry unions, asbestos community groups and WHS experts.

Source: http://www.sia.org.au/browse.aspx?ContentID=issue180-news5

Asbestos Training: Comm. Minister Says NBN Rollout Targets Being Met

Danger Asbestos Warning SignComm. Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that the  National Broadband Network (NBN) targets are being met, with over207,000 properties now ready for connection.

At an NBN rollout event, Albanese revealed that over one million homes and businesses are, or are in the process of being, connected to the NBN.

The initial target was for more than 340,000 premises to be ready to connect by the end of June, but that was later reduced to between 190,000-220,000 properties.

Albanese promised that any further asbestos issues in connection with the rollout will be handled with the utmost care.

Albanese stated that any time there is a presence of asbestos in any project, it needs to be managed according to occupational health and safety practice.

“This is not an issue that will be dealt with over a day or a week, this is an issue that is dealt with whenever you deal with infrastructure development.” he said.

“Whether it be a large infrastructure project, such as the National Broadband Network, or whether it be someone fixing up a suburban house who wants to change their car garage.”

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-04/federal-government-meets-nbn-roll-out-targets/4800182

Heritage-Listed Cinema Deemed Unsafe Amidst Asbestos Dangers

The owner of Piccadilly Cinemas  has declared the  heritage-listed building “totally unsafe”  following two ceiling collapses that “narrowly missed the customers.”

Recently WorkSafe undertook a risk assessment the buildings “flaking” asbestos roof.

Veteran cinema operator Cyril Watson and his lawyer had reportedly sent a letter to the agents for the landlord pleading for urgent attention to waterproof the roof and  “safeguard and suppress the asbestos materials used in the roof”. The matters had been discussed early in a face-to-face meeting last November.

Worksafe inspectors recently visited the cinema and ordered  14 improvement notices.

One of the improvement notice called the the cinema out for breaching  Occupational Safety and Health Regulations  by failing to have an asbestos register. Watson has been until August 9 to conduct an identification and risk assessment on the asbestos and to record all data at an onsite register.

“Since that time we have had preliminary plans prepared by the conservation architect for the arcade and theatre to understand what can and cannot be done to the building. In respect of the asbestos roof … sheet asbestos roofing is a stable form of asbestos in particular when painted. Many schools in WA have this form of roofing. That is not to say we will not be replacing it when we renovate the arcade, but it is not at the point where it should be replaced immediately.”

But WA Asbestos Diseases Society president Robert Vojakovic called on the health department for urgent attention and to investigate the issues in order to ease the minds of patrons and workers alike.

Mr Vojakovic  upon seeing photos, described the site as being in a very poor state and appeared to be “friable” in places. “If the dust can reach the cinema then there is a risk,” he said. “The Department of Health or Perth City Council need to have a look at the situation. It’s a public facility; it must be free of risk.”

Roof plumber Rick Rogers, discussed the condition of the cinema stating”It is in poor condition, it’s quite flaky,” he said. “My old man died of asbestosis at 48. You are talking to a guy who is pretty paranoid.”

A Worksafe spokeswoman said inspectors didn’t see any cause for concern on the inside of the cinema because the asbestos roof is on the outside of the building.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said its officials were unaware of any issues at the Piccadilly. “Issues regarding the management of asbestos in the workplace should be directed to the Department of Commerce (WorkSafe WA),” she said. “When required, the department will assist WorkSafe by providing toxicology advice and public health risk assessments.”

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Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/horror-movie-right-here-in-the-cbd/story-fnhocxo3-1226650604784

Verdict Reached For 2 Year Old Asbestos Case

 A Sydney judge has finally reached a verdict two years after hearing a case against the founder of the Clean Up Israel environmental campaign. The accused was said to have been causing land and water pollution by allegedly dumping asbestos-contaminated waste on his property Wollondilly.

Justice Rachel Pepper from the Land and Environment Court admitted that the delay in the hearing against Foxman and his company was “unacceptable and regrettable”.

It has also come to light that the delay affected other prosecutions relating to the incident which subsequently stalled any development or clean up at the site since the reported 2010 dumping.

The Land and Environment Court stated their intentions to deliver most delayed judgments within three months.

”However, competing demands, complex cases and judicial leave can sometimes make this deadline unattainable,” it said.

Following eight days of hearings in February and March 2011, Justice Pepper delayed her verdict on the matter.

 Foxman and his company have been accused of unlawfully disposing of up to 35,000 tonnes of soil ridden asbestos on his Wollondilly  construction site.

Foxman attempted to defend the actions and stated that the delay had had significant effects on him and his company and it was  ”extraordinary and unjust to have to wait so long”.

”I have had no way of clearing my name and that has had a devastating effect,” he said. ”It is a horrible situation … I have not been able to put a shovel in the ground for three years.”

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Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/asbestos-verdict-in-two-years-20130518-2jtaj.html#ixzz2TyR5q8PQ

National Swimming Team Commences Training Alongside Asbestos Removal At Centre

Asbestos removal has commenced at the Australian Institute of Sport Aquatic Centre even though the country’s elite swimmer’s continue to use the centre. Renovations on the almost thirty-year old building have been ongoing for approximately a month and are expected to continue until the end of the month.

The national swimming team has been centre since Sunday for orientation camp, forcing them to walk past the construction site on the way to training. Tests are conducted on a daily basis to ensure that the particles are not air-borne around the worksite, and barriers and signs are in place to warn passersby of the potential dangers.

Comcare gave the ‘go ahead’ on the asbestos removal after examining the project.  The asbestos will be removed from outside the building and replaced with compressed fibro.

A spokesman for the ASC described the asbestos as ”low-risk” and said all the required steps had been followed to ensure its safe removal.

Those include:

■ An ACT-certified asbestos remover being retained to advise on and remove the bonded asbestos sheeting from the site.

■ Comcare approving the project approach and removal of asbestos.

■ An independent organisation conducting daily tests throughout the removal period to verify that no particulate asbestos are found in the air around the worksite.

■ The ASC occupational health and safety adviser being informed and agreeing to the process proposed and remaining on call should any OH&S issues arise.

”An exclusion zone has been set up around the work area to cordon off access from the public and staff since the start of the work,” the spokesman said. ”Arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the removal process complied with applicable work, health and safety laws.”

The AIS pool will be closed to the public from May 19 to June 7 for maintenance work.

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Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/asbestos-removed-as-athletes-swim-on-20130508-2j8ho.html#ixzz2T1ZcVyNf

Asbestos Death Toll To Rise

Between 30 and 40 thousand Australians are expected to die from asbestos-related diseases in the next two decades, a Senate inquiry has heard.

The Inquiry into the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill included evidence from Hobart with a vast range of groups who have experienced the deadly building material. 

According to David Clement from Asbestoswise, the age of mesothelioma patients is dropping — meaning patients are becoming younger. Clement has attributed this to the growing number of young people who are carrying out home renovations.

Despite widespread ignorance among DIY renovators about the risks, most efforts to increase asbestos awareness for DIY home renovations have all but failed.

“The story we have with home renovations shows is that we have been banging on their doors for years trying to get on,” Mr Clement said.

Simon Crocker, from Asbestos Free Tasmania, said about 12 people a year in the state died from asbestos-related disease.

“We have a poison in our community that’s killing people and it’s going to keep on killing people until we do something,” Mr Crocker said.

He said it should be a legal requirement that sellers disclose whether homes contain asbestos.

“We believe that if somebody knows they have asbestos in the house then they should disclose that at the point of sale,” he said.

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Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2013/04/24/377653_tasmania-news.html

Company and Two Employees Fined For Providing False Info on Asbestos

Land and Environment Court of NSW recently convicted Aargus Pty Ltd and two of its employees for failing to reveal the existence of asbestos in a pile of soil that was classified as waste.

Aargus, and  its employees; Kariotoglou and Kelly, all pleaded guilty to charges of breaching section 144AA of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW) (POEO Act), by providing deceptive and misleading information regarding waste that contained the deadly substance, asbestos.

Justice Craig convicted all responsible parties, and fined the company $30,000. Kariotoglou  ( the project manager) was fined $9000, and Kelly (environmental manager) was fined $3000.

by supplying false or misleading information regarding waste – in this case, waste containing asbestos.  As a result, the judgment of Justice Craig was limited to determining the appropriate sentence.

Aargus was ordered to pay 50% of the EPA’s legal costs, while Kariotoglou and Kelly were ordered to pay 30% and 20% respectively.

A clean up notice was issued, and the site awaits a costly fix.

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Source:  http://www.nortonrose.com/au/knowledge/publications/78452/employees-beware-both-company-and-two-employees-fined-for-supplying-false-information-about-waste-containing-asbestos

Brush Fire Properties Need Safe Asbestos Removal

Following the property destruction during the brushfire season, WorkSafe is reminding  Victorians to ensure  property cleanups  do not expose them to asbestos

In the wake of devastating property losses during this bushfire season, WorkSafe is reminding Victorians to take particular care during the clean-up of their properties to avoid potential exposure to asbestos.

Less than 25 years ago, asbestos was a frequently used material in roofing, sheet walls, ceilings and in moulded products.

Other common asbestos-containing materials and products included vinyl floor tiles and sheets, insulation materials, and sealants.

Lisa Sturzenegger, WorkSafe’s Health and Safety general manager for operations, said, “We’re asking people undertaking a clean up of bushfire-damaged property to take particular care to avoid disturbing asbestos fibres.

“The safest way to remove asbestos, particularly if the asbestos is friable, that is it is crumbling or disintegrating, is to contact a licensed asbestos remover. There is a list of licensed asbestos removers at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au,” Ms Sturzenegger said.

“We strongly encourage property owners not to attempt to remove asbestos materials themselves. If you suspect that you have asbestos on your property, there is really only one way to identify it, by having it checked by an analyst accredited by the National Association Testing Authority.

In general, most asbestos materials used in the construction of houses are solid in nature and do not pose a significant risk. However, when asbestos is exposed to high temperatures, such as those found in bushfires, it can become less-solid (friable) and begin to crumble. This may result in the release of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere.

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Source: http://www.worksafenews.com.au/news/item/302-safe-removal-of-asbestos-from-bushfire-damaged-properties.html

Asbestos Training: Australian Registry’s First Mesothelioma Report

The first report  compiled with data from the recently-established Australian Mesothelioma Registry has been released, and the results are not encouraging especially for labourers

According to Safe Work Australia’s report and the Australian Mesothelioma Registry, 612 new cases of mesothelioma in 2011 were recorded. The new country-wide registry launched in 2011 with the aim of recording and tracking all newly reported mesothelioma cases. The collection of data is to compile research and note patterns and trends.

612 new cases equals to about 2.7 mesothelioma cases per 100,000 people. Safe Work Australia noted however that  that the number is likely to be a significantly higher due to “possible delays in confirming or coding some diagnoses.”

Of the 612 mesothelioma cases diagnosed, over half of the deaths were reported by the end of August 2012. Men make up for about 84.5 per cent of reported cases and most patients are 65-years old or older. The report indicated that workers from the construction and building trades were the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos in their careers.

The registry has patients complete and asbestos questionnaire to gain some insight into their history of exposure.  A patients completed the survey and 87 also completed a telephone interview.

Australia has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that attacks the membranes around organs and often resists conventional therapies. According to Safe Work Australia, Australia both produced and was one of the biggest consumers of asbestos until the mid-1980’s. Even though the Australian government issued a total ban on the use and importation of all forms of asbestos in 2003, it is still present in thousands of homes and buildings.

At the beginning of this year the Australian government started a campaign meant to at encourage do-it-yourself homeowners to have asbestos assessments or have it removed before building or renovating a home.

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Source:First Australian Mesothelioma Report Confirms 612 Cases”, September 24, 2012, Occupational Health & Safety website.

 

NT Drafting Plan For Asbestos Removal At Botanic Gardens

The NT Government is currently mounting a management plan to tend to the removal of asbestos uncovered at Darwin’s George Brown Botanic Gardens.A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment revealed that asbestos was uncovered in the gardens over a month ago.

The asbestos is believed to be among the rubble dumped in the gardens following Cyclone Tracy.The Department stated that it is currently unclear how much asbestos exists at the site, but it is believed to be safe in its current form.

However, despite the government’s assurance, workers have refused to service the garden because they have safety concerns with the asbestos.NT WorkSafe confirmed that inspectors have since visited the site and it is up to the government to deal with the asbestos removal.

 

Update**

The Northern Territory Environment Department  revealed that some soil with suspected asbestos contamination have been removed from Darwin’s Botanic Gardens.

Asbestos was discovered at  the gardens approximately a month ago and since then discussions have been ongoing regarding it’s removal.

A spokesperson said some soil has been removed but it was not in a public space.

Staff have still refused to mow the lawns and are continuing discussions with department and union representatives.

 

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-27/asbestos-found-darwin-botanic-gardens/4159836?section=nt

 

 

Asbestos Awareness: SafeWork Investigates Deserted Dump Site

SafeWork SA has been charged with the task of immediately cleaning up an abandoned asbestos dump site in Wingfield.

Unions brought the site to the attention of the authorities after the All State Group went into administration which left asbestos sheeting and insulation exposed.CFMEU secretary Martin O’Malley said despite the company’s licensed ability to remove the asbestos, it first had to be monitored by Safe Work . WorkSafe will have to determine if the harmful substance was sealed in airtight bags or containers.

O’Malley maintains that the site was littered with asbestos materials as well as other building matter.He continued by stating that members of the asbestos removal business that existed there were exposed to asbestos and residents living the wider community may have been exposed to deadly asbestos dust.

SafeWork has spent a significant amount of time at the site where they commenced the investigation immediately after The Advertiser informed them of the dangerous substance’s existence in the area.

O’Malley said Safe Work SA has to justify a 4m- high pile of asbestos ridden matter for over a year that was left unattended for a year.

BRI Ferrier, the appointed liquidator yet to commented on the status of the asbestos dump site.

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Source:http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/company-deserts-a-toxic-wasteland-at-wingfield/story-e6frea83-1226333740842

Fake “Asbestos-Free” Documents Endanger Maritime Workers

Asbestos TrainingAustralian maritime workers are frequently being exposed to potentially fatal asbestos fibres aboard foreign registered ships that have been discovered with fake papers citing that they are asbestos free.

The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers have expressed concerns that vessels or tug boats being brought into the country, continue to endanger the safety and lives of seafarers.

The union’s concerns were included in a public submission to the federal government investigation into asbestos management.

The submission states that the International Maritime Organisation has distributed warnings that asbestos has been uncovered in ship fire blankets, wall and ceiling coverings, and other parts of the ship.

Federal Laws dating back to 2005, have prohibited the entry of vessels containing asbestos, however ships continue to arrive in Australia with asbestos ridden materials. The ship carry “asbestos free” certificates but they have  often been proven false by respectable Australian authorities.

The submission also cited a difficulty in enforcing Australia’s health and safety laws on internationally- registered ship, which have proven an obstacle in the process of achieving asbestos-free workplaces.

According to the submission, eight tug boats brought in from abroad, were discovered to have a serious amount of asbestos on their vessel despite being in possession of “asbestos –free” certificates.

The federal inquiry on asbestos management will be finalized in June.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/maritime-workers-still-face-asbestos-risk-20120408-1wjli.html#ixzz1rxSYlBuC

Residents Outraged At Plans to Dig Up Asbestos Ridden Site

Asbestos TrainingSydney residents are outraged over plans to dig up an asbestos ridden site in order to build a huge waste treatment plant. In the late 1990s the deadly effects of asbestos were fully realised so the owner of the site, James Hardie, tore down  their buildings and built a concrete slap.

It has been five years since the asbestos-caused death of Bernie Banton, a former James Hardie employee who worked at the site. Residents are concerned and angry about the plans to dig up the contaminated site.

A German waste management and recycling company is looking to construct a commercial and industrial waste treatment facility where the James Hardie building was once located. However, residents are concerned that digging up the soil under the concrete slap will put their safety at risk since it is laced with asbestos. The site is located adjacent to a childcare centre.Residents have been adamant in their protest against the development, and their feelings that the government is putting corporate interests above public safety. Parents have since threatened to remove their children if the project proceeds.

Remondis has conceded that although the land had been cleaned up by Sydney Water, asbestos particles were still present in the ground. Mohan Selvaraj, a technical manager for Remonidis, said that the process will not include digging up the concrete slab except to provide sewage. Selvaraj said this part of the process will be monitored by Work Cover despite the ease to do it.

President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, Barry Robson, feels that the project is outrageous because any construction or vehicle is at risk of fracturing the concrete slap. Robson is concerned that a fifth wave of victims will occur.

NSW Planning Assessment Commission will make a decision regarding the project sometime after the public comment period closes on April 10.

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 Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/residents-livid-over-plans-to-dig-up-asbestos-site-20120327-1vwlh.html#ixzz1rDbJ2h78

Demolished Boatshed Causes Asbestos Concerns

Asbestos trainingA resident of Church Point has cited concerns with the tearing down of an asbestos-ridden boat shed opposite his home.

Warning letters were delivered by the Pittwater Council throughout the neighbouring properties, informing citizens of the removal of the dangerous mineral.

Asbestos warning signs were also found throughout the site. However, citizens have noted that the council-contracted workers were destroying the building with hammers and showed no consideration for the containment of asbestos dust. A concerned citizen, Collyn Rivers said that the building was left in a “huge pile” for a long period of time. It is alleged that the workers simply tore the building apart without taking any occupational health and safety precautions.

It is important to note that Asbestos fibres are hazardous if inhaled.

Rivers is concerned that people may have unknowingly been exposed while in the vicinity. A spokesperson for the Pittwater Council said the contract workers removed the asbestos according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules.

The shed was listed to for demolition following a council report that stated the building presented the potential for numerous hazards.

As reported by the Manly Daily last October, the shed was listed for demolition after a council report said it posed “numerous hazards and presents as a potential nuisance to third parties”.

The decision upset the non-profit jewellery and metalworking organisation Silver Plus, which successfully applied for a $40,000 state government grant to have the boatshed rebuilt as a workshop.

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Source: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/asbestos-health-fears-from-demolished-boatshed/ 

Canberra Citizens Unknowingly Exposed To Asbestos

Asbestos TrainingCitizens of Canberra may never know the extent in which asbestos was dumped throughout the ACT. Health authorities said the outrage and hysteria that surround certain discoveries vary because of the various levels of risk. Asbestos assessor Frank Poole stated that a significant amount of asbestos remains in old housing from when workers were building the national capital, which was later knocked down and buried.

During the second World War, fibro structures such as POW and military camps were swiftly constructed with the use of asbestos sheeting. When the war ended, it is alleged that instead of retaining the sheeting, the structures were just knocked down.

Poole said that there were no records indicating where builders dug holes to dump asbestos. People can be unexpectedly be exposed to the dangerous substance from worn friable asbestos in an old air-conditioning unit or from dust from renovations.

Most recently, asbestos has been uncovered at Lyneham sports precinct as well as units at Kingston Foreshore. Houses built prior to 1985 in most suburbs have a very high chance of containing asbestos. Asbestos fibres can gloat in the air for a long time, where they can potentially be inhaled. Asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

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Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/no-records-mean-we-may-never-know-extent-of-dumped-asbestos-20120219-1thg5.html#ixzz1n4A89kGE

WorkSafe Reveals Asbestos Problems At Fun Park

Asbestos Awareness TrainingWorkSafe has revealed that asbestos was discovered at  a St.Kilda amusement park, Luna Park. The deadly substance was discovered in a tower that supports a large, smiling face structure. The substance was reportedly removed when the iconic fun park was closed in June last year.

WorkSafe issued a safety improvement order to the park management, which  did not update a mandatory register for hazardous materials for more than 10 years.

The occupational health and safety laws breach, was discovered when former CFMEU state secretary Martin Kingham was employed by Luna Park to monitor the restoration project. Kingham was a former Victorian president of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia.

He led many anti-asbestos campaigns during the 1980s. A WorkSafe report stated that Kingham had provided them with an asbestos register for the workplace but the register was dated May,2001—more than five years old. According to Victoria’s OHS laws, Asbestos registers must be reviewed and if required, updated every five years.

Luna Park executive director  Mary Stuart insisted that the park was safe for visitors, following a thorough audit of the park last year. Stuart said the deadly asbestos was not a threat to the public since it was not friable or powder-like. Stuart stated that the park takes its health and safety requirements very seriously.Over the past decade, WorkSafe has found serious breaches of OHS legislation. Electical improvements were ordered for a ride that risked the safety of children when it rose four metres in the air.

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Source : http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/secrets-behind-the-smile-20120128-1qn9d.html

Asbestos Training: Asbestos Found In School Science Kits

Asbestos  AwarenessDespite the State Government proclaiming that its asbestos management guidelines are the strictest in the country, four Year 8 students have found the deadly substance in science kits. Since the discovery, two recalls have been conducted for the decades-old classroom science kits. It is unclear how many kits had been in schools but 159 kits had been removed prior to the second recall. Many of the kits in question were issued over two decades ago.

LNP education spokesman Bruce Flegg stated that the recalls and safety alert made a farce of the State Government’s asbestos management in schools. The Queensland government has proudly proclaimed to home to the most transparent and hard lined guidelines for asbestos management.

Flegg has since accused the Government of trying to keep the recalls discrete and hidden from public eye which is why all parents have not been alerted.

Flegg warned that an excessive amount of examples of children and teachers have been exposed to deadly asbestos fibres .

Experts claim that the risks posed by the kits are minimal despite the fact that there are always risks associated with asbestos.

The kits allegedly originally contained a sample of asbestos rock. Queensland asbestos expert Bill Kwiecien stated that while the kits were a concern and a possible risk to children because of the presence of hazardous material, the actual risk was minimal. Kwiecien stated that it is only a concern because kids are exposed to it but otherwise it would not be of immediate concern.

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Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/asbestos-in-science-kits/story-e6freoof-1226244932839

Asbestos Awareness Concerns At Kingston Work Site

Asbestos AwarenessAn undisclosed amount of asbestos was recently brought into Kingston Foreshore by a Land Development Agency contracter. The area is said to be currently undergoing preparations for mixed use land development.

Kingston residents have expressed concern and curiosity over WorkCover’s closing of the site earlier this month. Allegedly, for over two years, the  work  at the site involved extensive earthworks and dust problems prior to  the closing of the area without an adequate explanation.

A 2.68 ha site is vacant and still remains a potential mixed-use and urban, area. The site is located north of Eyre Street and west of the Causeway. The agency has reported that early surveys discovered asbestos in the area. In addition to the surveys, a contractor has also reportedly brought in fill material with traces of asbestos in order to detect how much asbestos was present.

Early testing indicated that the trace amounts of asbestos are a result of building demolition waste.Environmental compliance officers for the Agency have detected the asbestos and subsequently enacted environmental control procedures.

The site was officially closed on December 13 by Worksafe but then the order was lifted on December 15 after the Environmental Management Plan and Occupational Health and Safety Plan were reviewed.

Civil works have recommenced at the site and the construction of roads are expected to be completed by March 2012 according to the program.The source of asbestos has yet to  be specified by the agency.

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja stated that this is one of several recent cases of asbestos contamination being discovered at proposed work sites.

More information on Asbestos Training.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/new-fears-asbestos-sullied-kingston-site/2399800.aspx

Home Renovators Need Asbestos Awareness

asbestos awareness trainingThe fifth annual Asbestos Awareness Day ceremony will present an unadulterated caution to home renovators.

The ceremony that takes place yearly in Latrobe Valley community is an event in which people gather in remembrance of asbestos victims of the past and present.Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary, John Parker announced that home renovations were the most recent asbestos-related issues. The ceremony was attended by affected family members and workplace representatives.

Vicky Hamilton of the Asbestos Related Diseases Support group , said despite the last harmful type of asbestos being banned, there still exists an inadequate amount of community awareness.Hamilton stated that asbestos continues to exist in large amounts throughout the community and in homes. Thus people  are at risk for potential exposure on a daily basis. Hamilton expressed her concerns that asbestos related cases would continually increase for decades to come.

Parker asserts that diligence by government was needed to avoid illegal dumping by home renovators. It is Parker’s desire that one day the Asbestos Awareness Day will just be a memorial day, and not a day for remembering new victims. This story comes after issues arose with popular DIY home renovation reality TV-shows. Issues arose because the shows do not provide asbestos awareness or  any warning; nor  do they express the need for proper asbestos training.

Source:http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/news/local/news/general/home-renos-the-new-issue/2372406.aspx

Senator Calls For Asbestos Awareness On Reality TV

Asbestos Training CoursesPopular reality TV series’ The Block and The Renovators are receiving criticism because they do not warn DIY renovators about the risks of asbestos exposure.

Labor senator Lisa Sigh stated to Parliament that there should be a disclaimer displayed during the programs to inform the audience of the various dangers when doing renovations.Senator Singh has found support from asbestos campaigners when she claimed that the popular shows should develop a corporate conscience and provide asbestos awareness information.Singh stated that the shows have an responsibility to inform people that asbestos can be found in fibro sheeting, water, drain and flue pipes.

She continued by saying that no one would welcome a spike in asbestos related disease cases in over 20 years and have it connected to the popularity of DIY home renovation.The high ratings of the show indicates that there is a captive audience and thus it is important for companies to be corporate citizens.Every year there are more and more cases of with mesothelioma, a disease usually caused by asbestos exposure.

Recently a report warned of the possibility of a third-wave of asbestos related illnesses.Asbestos Diseases Foundation president Barry Robson claimed that it would not be demanding for the programs to have disclaimer warning of the dangers.Cases of asbestos related diseases are increasing.

The Nine Network has indicated that it improve its education on asbestos dangers in the next season of The Block.

A spokesperson for the network stated that they understand the dangers and the need to inform the public.

Asbestos Training is available to any prospective renovators.

The Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/reality-renovators-exposed-to-deadly-disease/story-fn7x8me2-1226190639118

Asbestos Awareness Training for 10,000 Workers?

asbestos trainingThe discovery of an abundance of asbestos, has lead the potential mandatory enrollment in asbestos training for more than ten thousand ACT building workers. The government is also considering an awareness campaign aimed at the general public.

Contaminated Soil

Soil has been found to be contaminated throughout the area especially around big building projects. 160 Thousand tonnes of asbestos contaminated soil was recently found at a work site. Other large quantities of contaminated soil have been found recently.

According to the government, action is needed to deal with the enormous quantities of this deadly substance.

Multi-agency task forces are being assembled in order to quickly and effectively deal with asbestos issues. A draft strategy is also currently being  assembled for a Regulators meeting.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/asbestos-finds-spark-plan-for-risk-training/2272286.aspx

Senator Fights for Asbestos Awareness

asbestos awarenessSenator Singh from Tasmania has vowed to continue to fight against the threat of asbestos.

Since being elected to Parliament almost 6 years ago, Singh has worked with Julia Gillard to help eradicate the Howard Gov. WorkChoice laws.

For her first speech in senate,  Singh said her experience as a minister had made her deeply concerned about the suffering of workers riddled with asbestos-related ailments.

Singh stated that Tasmania has had a dark history of asbestos.In the days of Goliath Cement, where hundreds of workers were eventually afflicted with deadly asbestos related diseases.

Singh has continued to fight for asbestos poisoned victims and has even established the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation, where she serves as chief executive.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/08/17/253951_tasmania-news.html

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Asbestos Training Courses – Asbestos Detection Procedures

Asbestos training courses outline the necessary procedures for safe risk assessment of asbestos containing material (ACM). Asbestos awareness training is an important part of workplace health and safety.

You will find your asbestos training gives relevant instructions in sampling and analysis of ACM. It is important that samples of materials suspected of containing asbestos are taken only by competent persons and are analysed only by accredited laboratories. The sample should be representative of the suspected ACM (e.g. for the walls of multi-storey buildings, at least one sample should be taken on each floor). If there are any variations in the appearance, texture or colour of the material, additional samples should be taken.

The samples should be adequately labelled to enable identification of the address and specific location from which the material was sampled and should include the date of sampling and the batch identification number.

Where necessary, any damage caused by the sampling of a suspected ACM should be repaired without causing further disturbance to the ACM. If there are inaccessible areas that are likely to contain ACM, the person with control should presume that asbestos is present.

Rather than taking samples to determine whether a material contains asbestos, the person with control may simply presume the material contains asbestos. Once such a presumption has been made, the material must be treated as an ACM, with work practices and disposal criteria as required for the presence of asbestos, until the material is removed or testing has confirmed that it does not, in fact, contain asbestos.

The list of common ACM may be used as an aid in determining which materials, if any, may be presumed to contain asbestos. The full list should be found within the asbestos awareness training course.

As indicated earlier, if there are inaccessible areas that are likely to contain ACM the person with control should presume that asbestos is present in these areas. For example, it may be reasonable to presume that wall cavities or ceiling spaces contain ACM such as asbestos insulation.

It may also be more cost effective in other circumstances to apply the presumption instead of sampling and analysing suspected ACM, as would otherwise be required to rule out the presence of asbestos.

The workplace’s register of ACM must state all the presumptions made about materials in the workplace. For example, a generic presumption statement in the register might read, ‘All wall cavities are presumed to contain asbestos’ or ‘All underground conduits are presumed to contain asbestos.’

Online asbestos awareness training is the quickest way to complete your training. Make sure your asbestos training course meets WorkCover and WorkSafe requirements.

The risk management approach to asbestos awareness

Asbestos training among other things, focuses on detailing the risk management approach to asbestos in the workplace. Risk management is a common concept in business practice and ensures that safe systems of work can be established from detailed risk management plans.

What you will learn from your asbestos training is how to identify asbestos in the workplace and adopt an accepted risk management approach. You will also learn about asbestos registers and asbestos management plans. How do you identify asbestos in your workplace?

Asbestos training courses provide employers with the knowledge required to keep their workplace safe. As employers are required by law to manage risks to all persons in and around the workplace, it makes good practice to adopt a risk management approach so that consistency in applying the law will avoid making mistakes in managing those risks. Asbestos awareness training is an important part of this.

The problem is that ACM can release asbestos fibres into the air whenever they are disturbed, and especially during the following activities:

  1. any direct action on asbestos containing materials (ACM), such as drilling, boring, cutting, filing, brushing, grinding, sanding, breaking, smashing or blowing with compressed air
  2. the inspection or removal of ACM from workplaces (including vehicles, plant and equipment);
  3. the maintenance or servicing of materials from vehicles, plant, equipment or workplaces;
  4. the renovation or demolition of buildings containing ACM.

Non-friable ACM that has been subjected to extensive weathering or deterioration also has a higher potential to release asbestos fibres into the air.

Asbestos training covers risk management procedures: a detailed approach to risk management starts with an on – site assessment and an asbestos register. All premises should have an assessment and a register, even if they are new, because second hand plant and equipment brought into a building may contain asbestos. It is also good practice to have a building assessed and recorded as being asbestos free. This simple statement that establishes a baseline condition. Then any second-hand plant and equipment brought into the building needs a check for asbestos and removed prior to installation if asbestos is found.

Persons with control of premises must ensure all ACM in their workplaces are identified, as far as practicable. More specifically, there is a need to:

  1. identify the locations of all ACM and determine whether any inaccessible areas are likely to contain ACM; and
  2. identify the types (e.g. asbestos cement sheet, asbestos lagging on pipes and flues, ACM gaskets in plant or machinery) and condition (i.e. damaged or intact) of ACM.

Asbestos training courses are a very valuable tool for keeping workplaces safe, and are available online.

Asbestos awareness – what must employers do?

Employers must ensure that employees and other persons are informed of the dangers, hazards and risks involved and of any precautions that should be taken. Asbestos training will inform employers of exactly how to do this.

Asbestos training courses provide employers with the knowledge required to keep their employees safe.

Employees must be provided with:

  1. Asbestos awareness training
  2. Safe Work Method Statements including emergency procedures.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (available for use if required)
  4. Facilities to safely wash and remove PPE and clothing before they leave the workplace (if required to handle ACM)

 

Employees are to be notified in writing if asbestos work is being carried out.
All persons must be warned, by the use of signs, labels or other similar measures, of the presence of asbestos or asbestos-containing material in a place at which work is being carried out around asbestos.
Employers must identify, and implement measures to prevent any disturbance of asbestos-containing material while work is being carried out. For example, if asbestos is encapsulated, or sealed, the employer cannot allow any asbestos fibres to be released into the air – they must seal off the asbestos and areas where it exists.

An employer must ensure that procedures are in place for:
• The cleaning of premises at which asbestos work is carried out;
• The laundering and cleaning of personal protective equipment used for asbestos work;
• The containment of asbestos waste; and
• The disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing material safely according to Environmental Protection Authority standards and guidelines (e.g. disposed of to a legitimate hazardous waste facility).
An employer must ensure that no asbestos-containing material, including asbestos cement, is reused in connection with the carrying out of construction work.
An employer must not allow the use of high-pressure hoses to clean the surface of asbestos-containing material, including asbestos cement or any structures that consist of or contain asbestos, during the carrying out of construction work.

As you can see, asbestos training is a very valuable  tool for helping to keep workplaces safe from the hazards of asbestos. If you work in the building industry you may be required to complete your asbestos awareness training. Asbestos training coursescan be completed online.

Asbestos death toll underestimated. Asbestos Training Courses can help!

According to a recent study entitled ‘Global magnitude of reported and unreported mesothelioma’, the number of deaths related to asbestos exposures worldwide has been dramatically underestimated, as some major asbestos-using nations are failing to report any related cancers. (more…)

Asbestos awareness training – some legal requirements

Where asbestos containing materials (ACM) may be present or suspected in the workplace, asbestos awareness training courses educate you on the health and safety risks of asbestos. On completion of asbestos training, participants should be fully competent and aware in the management of asbestos and aware of all compliance requirements, with qualifications from a competency based asbestos training course that is accepted by the government.

A code of practice is available in relation to health and safety issues in your workplace. They are practical documents that assist in implementing safe workplace procedures. They may also be used by a court as evidence of an employer’s failure to implement the duty of care responsibility. An asbestos training course will fully detail your responsibilities and how to fulfill them.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 there are responsibilities for controllers of premises. A controller of premises that contains asbestos or asbestos containing material must ensure that Risk Assessment and Control Measures are carried out.

A controller of premises must ensure that:

A register, in which the type, condition and location of all asbestos and asbestos containing material in any workplace, is prepared, recorded and maintained. For example, if it is contaminated roof tiles or in the walls of a building a register must be kept of these details.

Any action taken to control asbestos and asbestos containing material in the workplace or in plant at the workplace is to be recorded in the asbestos register. The register must be easily accessible to everyone in the workplace, including contractors and visitors (e.g. electricians, plumbers and others who may perform work in asbestos contaminated areas).

The Register must also include details of assessment concerning the asbestos that took place before any work was carried out.

Employers are required to identify, assess and control both stable asbestos and asbestos in processes. Asbestos training will properly outline how to carry out these requirements.This involves requirements in the design of workplaces and plant, labelling, notifying WorkCover in certain circumstances, controlling the exposure, providing training, and consulting with employees and health and safety reps.

An employer must ensure that asbestos work is carried out within the legal requirements of the NSW OHS Legislation. Complete your asbestos awareness training to gain a full understanding of other important asbestos facts such as health risks.

Asbestos awareness training: the health effects of exposure to asbestos

Where asbestos containing materials (ACM) may be present or suspected in the workplace or home, online asbestos training courses offer a convenient way to educate you on the health and safety risks of asbestos. Asbestos training is a good idea for anyone coming into contact with asbestos. Asbestos becomes a health hazard when fibres become airborne and are inhaled or swallowed. Asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested.  Many of the fibres will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibres can cause health problems.

Health effects depend on length, diameter and composition of fibre. Disease is usually associated with long-term exposure in occupational or para-occupational setting (immediate family or live near asbestos mine or factory) Risk depends on how much and how long.  Asbestos training provides comprehensive information on how to avoid or manage these risks.

Because it is so hard to destroy asbestos fibres, the body cannot break them down or remove them once they are lodged in lung or body tissues. They remain in place where they can cause disease.

All forms of asbestos can potentially cause:

Non cancer:

  • pleural plaques
  • asbestosis

Cancer:

  • lung cancer
  • malignant mesothelioma

An asbestos awareness training course provides the skills and knowledge necessary to help managers, controllers of work premises, trade persons, employees and others identify asbestos containing materials (ACMs) or suspected ACMs, and to ensure that appropriate action is taken. Asbestos training can easily be completed online.

Where can I do Asbestos Awareness Training?

There is a growing need for businesses working for government and private sector jobs to conduct Asbestos Awareness Training. (more…)

DIYers Are Advised to Be Asbestos Aware

Nearly half (47%) of homeowners who do DIY in their properties do not realise that asbestos was used as a building material in homes as recently as the 1990s, according to a survey carried out by the British Lung Foundation (BLF).

As part of Action Mesothelioma Day 2010, the BLF is urging people who carry out DIY to be Asbestos Aware after the recent survey of 2,000 homeowners revealed that nearly two thirds (65%) are not confident identifying asbestos-containing materials in the home. (more…)

Introduction to Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)

Asbestos is a hazardous material that poses a risk to health by inhalation if the asbestos fibres become airborne and people are exposed to these airborne fibres.
Exposure to asbestos fibres is known to cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.

It is important for employees who may work in buildings that contain asbestos to know where it is likely to be found and how to avoid exposure.
Asbestos-containing materials were used extensively in Australian buildings and structures, plant and equipment and in ships, trains and motor vehicles during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and some uses, including some friction materials and gaskets, were only discontinued on 31 December 2003.

The well-known adverse health consequences of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres can be prevented if precautions are taken and appropriate procedures are followed. Strong management and control of all asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in the workplace is essential.
The risks posed by asbestos vary depending on the nature and condition of the materials and the potential for exposure.
Asbestos awareness training can help identify and reduce workplace risks.

Asbestos study finds trained workers more aware of asbestos risks

A Safe Work Australia report has found that workers trained in health and safety are more aware of asbestos and its dangers

In 2009, Safe Work Australia commissioned the Asbestos Exposure and Compliance Study of Construction and Maintenance Workers. The report findings were published in February 2010 and focused on four trades – electricians, carpenters, plumbers and painters.

This follow-up report reviews the literature on worker safety behaviour and the factors that influence workers’ understanding of the health risks of exposure to asbestos.

In Australia, as a consequence of the high level of asbestos consumption in the past, large volumes of in-situ asbestos are still present in many older buildings and in water and sewerage pipes. Significant adverse health effects, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis can arise from exposure to airborne asbestos fibres which can be generated when these in-situasbestos containing materials are disturbed. However, safe work practices such as those defined in regulations on management and control of in-situ asbestos can prevent potential exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

It was unknown whether these safe work practices were being followed in Australia, especially among workers with high potential risk of exposure, such as construction and maintenance workers. This led Safe Work Australia to commission the Asbestos Exposure and Compliance Study of Construction and Maintenance Workers. The study targeted four trades: electricians, carpenters, plumbers and painters. The study was completed in 2009 and a descriptive research report was published in February 2010.

The present report is a follow-up report of the initial descriptive report from the Asbestos Exposure and Compliance Study (the Asbestos Study). The aims of this report are:

  • to conduct a brief literature review of worker safety behaviour models to provide background information on factors influencing worker safety behaviours
  • to examine which factors influenced workers’ understanding of the risk of asbestos, and
  • to examine which factors influenced compliance with safe work practices when working with asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

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