Former Council Workers Alleges Asbestos Cover Up Requests

A former northwestern NSW council worker has alleged that he was told to cover up dumped asbestos with green waste and garbage.

Mark Sankey revealed that he worked at landfill sites for Gwydir Shire Council between 2008 and March this year.

On several occasions he reported that he was asked to conceal the dumped asbestos with garbage and green waste and push it into walls or even burn it.

“When I was first in that job I was exposed to asbestos many, many times,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

“They would ask me to just push the asbestos under the garbage so people couldn’t see it.”

He said only two landfills in the area were locked, which made it easy to dump overnight.

He began to question the requests after receiving asbestos removal training.

“When I asked questions they threatened me with my job.”

In March, Mr Sankey said he was made redundant after being told his skills were no longer required.

Gwydir Shire Mayor John Coulton stated, “The council is confident that no staff member or member of the public has been endangered during the water pipe replacement program in Warialda,” he said in a statement.

WorkCover NSW and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) have both pledged to investigate the matters.

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Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/09/25/council-worker-asked-cover-asbestos

Asbestos Dust Cloud Worries Kimberly School Parents

Parents have kept their children from a remote Kimberley school after an old asbestos building was demolished within the vicinity.

An angry Jacinta Monck, a mother of four, pulled her kids out of a Beagle Bay school after a section of its ceiling collapsed as the water-spray method was being used to prevent particles from becoming airborne. This resulted in a huge dust cloud that children were potentially exposed to on their recesses outside.

“There was a loud bang and a dust cloud had risen above the building being demolished,” Ms Monck said.

“The children were all ushered into the classroom and two of the school’s employees ran over to say ‘please stop work’.

“From that, it came that they would only work after school hours for the asbestos removal.”

Ms Monck was aware the work was going to take place, but no date was provided.

“I was not told about what happened until I got home (last Monday) because I live on an outstation on the Dampier Peninsula,” Ms Monck said. “I was shocked and pulled my children out for the rest of the week.”

“My thing is not with the contractors, it is with the timing of the whole thing – school holidays are just two weeks away. No one had any forethought.”

An incident report has been prepared for the Shire of Broome.

Mining and Pastoral Member Stephen Dawson has written to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs  to call for a work-stop order on the site.

Mr Dawson stated in the letter that dismantling of the structure risked the health of children and urged a postponement on the works until school holidays.

“This will ensure that students are not necessarily taken out of school as the community becomes increasingly concerned for their children’s welfare,” he wrote.

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Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/18878028/asbestos-dust-cloud-threatens-beagle-bay-school/

Asbestos Training: Cottages To Be Removed Following Community Outcry

Crunch  time is finally drawing near for the three derelict asbestos cottages at Huskisson.

After years of campaigning by the community and numerous court cases by council to force the owners to remove the buildings, action is finally being taken.

The property owners, who live abroad, have not complied with Land and Environment Court orders to remove the buildings.

The court orders provided provision for council to move in after a considerable period of time and do the work.

Shoalhaven City Council development building manager Bob Goldspring said that time had come and gone.

“Council would now start obtaining quotes and get a contractor in to demolish the buildings and remove the material,” he said.

Chairman of the Huskisson Woollamia Community Voice Garry Kelson would not be surprised if Shoalhaven ratepayers end up footing the bill to demolish the three asbestos cottages in Huskisson.

However he would rather see the derelict buildings on Murdoch Street removed now and let the courts chase the owners for the money later.

“We have been lobbying to have these buildings removed on the grounds of safety for three years,” he said.

“We are heading into prime holiday time. We also have the Hobie World Championships coming up and these houses are right next to Moona Moona Creek which is a very popular picnic area, particularly with families.

“The buildings have been trashed and with the recent dry and windy weather who knows how much asbestos has been blowing around.”

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Source: http://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/1772944/council-moves-on-huskissons-asbestos-cottages/?cs=203

Asbestos Removal: AWA Concerned With Disposal Risks

Asbestos TrainingThe Asbestos Awareness Association has cautioned young people about the dangerous associated with the killer building material.

President of the local AWA group Geoff Maul is concerned that expensive safe disposal  methods are enticing  young DIY renovators to under take risky jobs.

Maul has subsequently called for government subsidies on asbestos removal and disposal.

“Ninety-five per cent of the houses in the north, not just Port Augusta, would have asbestos somewhere in them,” he said.

“They should do something to encourage people to safely dump asbestos.”

In Port Augusta, non-friable asbestos can be disposed of at the  TPI Waste Transfer Station. However, it needs to be wrapped and sealed in black plastic and only then will it be removed at a cost starting at $133.50/half tonne and $267 per tonne.  However, SafeWork SA recommends using a license asbestos contractor, which can make the process significantly more expensive

However the removal of asbestos can be far more costly with SafeWok SA recommending the use of a licensed asbestos contractor.

Port Augusta City Council director of infrastructure Hayden Hart said “The disposal of asbestos need not be a daunting experience, it can be easily and affordably disposed of at the Footner Road Waste Transfer Station,”

“I also strongly encourage anyone considering removing asbestos from their home to read through the SafeWork SA guide, which is a great source of information.”

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Source: http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/1766292/awa-concerned-with-asbestos-disposal/?cs=1286

Asbestos Concerns at Hospital

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After a contractor falling through the Royal Adelaide Hospital ceiling, a patient was forced to relocate because of asbestos concerns.

The contractor reportedly fell through the ceiling and into the pantry room which is connected to the orthopaedics ward. While the ward experienced no disruptions, a patient in a room near to the pantry was shifted to a bed further away.

The room will remain sealed off until the asbestos is removed. The contractor was taken to the hospital in order to determine the severity of his injuries.

Upon discovery of the asbestos in the ceiling area, the hospital staff immediately implemented standard asbestos safety measures and restricted access to the area.

Air testing devices were used to ensure the air quality was at a safe and risk-free level for patients and staff alike.Luckily the sub-contractor suffered and was treated by the Emergency Department for only minor injuries. Safework SA has been informed of the incident.

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Source:  http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/asbestos-scare-at-royal-adelaide-hospital/story-e6frea6u-1226458930290

Asbestos Closes Part of Parliament House

Asbestos AwarenessThe Lower House chamber of the SA Parliament House has been closed for an undertermined time after asbestos fragments were discovered.

Both paint on the chamber’s canvas and the dust on the ceiling were tested and were revealed to be positive for asbestos fibres.  The problem was discovered by heritage architects during their usual inspection of the House of Assembly.

The lower house chamber of the South Australian Parliament House has been closed indefinitely after traces of asbestos were found.

Since the traces are considered minuscule , the risk to parliamentarians has been deemed minimal, but the chamber was closed as a precaution until further tests are conducted.

Since the closing of the Assembly Hall, meetings are reportedly being moved to another section of the Parliament House in Adelaide.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-18/asbestos-house-of-assembly-chamber-parliament/4076322 

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