The four-storey Paspaley Building has been under demolition for the last few weeks in preparation for building the 18 or 20-storey Charles Darwin Centre on the corner of Smith and Bennett streets.
The building’s height has not yet been determined.
Chief Minister Adam Giles had planned a staged media walk-through of the site for lunchtime, but cancelled it at 11.25am.
Officials from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said they took samples from the site at 8am today and sent them for laboratory examination this morning, which they said identified them as chrysotile, or “white asbestos”.
But building architect Ross Connolly said Worksafe NT has declared the site safe and that the union was “stirring the pot”.
“They allegedly discovered some asbestos sheet,” he said.
He said the material found was harmless cellulose fibre cement.
“Worksafe has confirmed that the material found was not asbestos,” he said.
Worksafe has been contacted for comment.
He said the site had been certified asbestos-free by a certified removalist who removed asbestos from the remains of the three buildings about four or five weeks ago.
“Clearly when you do an asbestos register there’s always the risk that there might be some asbestos that might be not evident at the time the register was prepared,” he said.
“The contract for the removal makes it incumbent on the operator to obviously deal with anything that turns up in the removal process.
“There’s a later risk that when you demolish a floor slab or something underneath, given that we’re talking about a part of the town that was around in the war, there could be some asbestos sheeting in the soil underneath the building that was neither undiscoverable at the time of the asbestos register preparation nor at the removal.”
He said there was protocol for any asbestos discovery by workers, and that no reports had been made by workers to the site manager.
Mr Connolly has said work has resumed, but the union has said the site was shut.
CFMEU assistant secretary Jade Ingham said the site was “riddled” with asbestos.
“I can tell you we’ve better things to do than stir the pot and turn up on sites,” he said.
“If they were resolute why did they shut the site?” CFMEU official Ben Laokes said they found 10cm x 10cm sheets of material on the site.
“The document provided to us saying the asbestos was removed but then you walk through and see sheeting everywhere,” he said.
“It didn’t take us long to find it. We took four steps into the site and we found it. It’s all broken up.
“The workers there had concerns about it.”
Asbestos was used as a fire retardant building material until it was banned in 1989 because of health risks from inhaling asbestos fibres.
The Paspaley Building is understood to have been built in the early 1980s or earlier.
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Concerned parents reported that trucks containing the deadly material were regularly parked opposite Wellington St school for approximately six months.
Asbestos Removal Sydney owner Wade Rogers confirmed the trucks held asbestos, but said that the school community was safe because the fibres were contained within sheets of cement.
But Bondi Public parent Michelle Stone was horrified at the prospect of these trucks being close to her children.
“In the 21st century, it’s completely unacceptable for any company to allow an uncovered, unsecure truck in a residential zone outside a school, full of bags containing asbestos waste,” she said.
“It is grossly irresponsible and the company needs to act immediately to remove what is a legitimate and serious threat to the health of hundreds of children.”
Another parent Allan Moore reported split open bags, while others were not taped closed.
Upon investigation a ranger found that the asbestos was bonded and unlikely to break down and not considered harmful.
Any potential risk was further decreased by recent rain.
This assessment was supported by a later WorkCover inspection.
“Nevertheless, council and the mayor were very concerned about the presence of asbestos in a public place, and the ranger contacted the truck owner and asked them to move it,” the spokeswoman said.
“The owner of the truck undertook to move it this morning.
“Council is treating the matter seriously and will continue to follow up with WorkCover and the truck owner.”
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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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The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has raised serious concerns regarding the asbestos handling practices of a South Queensland waste disposal company.
The potentially-deadly substance was reportedly placed in a skip bin at the JJ Richards Darling Downs site last month. WHS Queensland has reportedly issued prohibition notices and ordered a decontamination of the zone. However, TWU spokesman Peter Biagini says the health of workers and their families could have been put at risk.
“It’s getting moved around with an excavator and our concern it’s in the air and it’s exposed workers to asbestos and not only that, their families as well,” he said.
“It gets in your clothes, goes home, in the washing machine.”
Mr Biagini says the TWU has raised its concerns with authorities.
“JJ Richards … [has] contracts with many, many councils all over Queensland and our concerns are they could be doing the same thing in many other sites,” he said.
“We’re calling on the State Government and councils – we’ve written to the councils as well – urging them to do an inspection to make sure that they are handling it legally.”
However, JJ Richards has issued a statement saying it adheres to all regulations regarding asbestos.
The company’s branch manager, Tom Richards, says in the statement the company takes the welfare of its staff and the public very seriously.
“The health of our employees and the greater public is paramount and we have strict health and safety measures in place to ensure their ongoing safety,” he said.
“Our workers’ compensation history demonstrates this commitment, with the company operating at well above the industry standard.
“Our health and safety and environmental records demonstrate our commitment to these important health and safety and environmental matters.
“We welcome audits of our sites by relevant authorities at any time and give the community our assurance that should any concerns be identified, we will address them with priority.”
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Refurbishing at the Telstra Building in Deakin, was stopped after WorkSafe ACT and the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate issued stop-work notices to the contractor for breaches connected to the discovery of asbestos on the site.
Construction union representatives inspected the site and cited several concerns with authorities.
The contractor, Business 2 Business Commercial Fitouts (based out of Sydney) shut down the site following the inspection.
Dean Hall, ACT branch secretary of the CFMEU, reported that in addition to the building’s asbestos register being inaccurate,the correct process of an asbestos audit and management plan were not followed by the contractor.
A Telstra spokesman stated that they were ”aware that a contractor working on behalf of Telstra found some asbestos at a vacant part of the Telstra site”.
”The contractor took immediate action to ensure the safety of their employees … [and] is now working with appropriate authorities to ensure the site remains safe for anyone who works there.”
A spokesman for the ESDD said ”The head contractor did not have the appropriate licence, the asbestos removalist is licensed in the ACT. However, there were no approvals in place to undertake the work. None of the work on the site had the relevant approvals.”
It is unclear how long the site with be closed considering the number of approvals required.
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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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Asbestos and other materials were reportedly unearthed four months ago while work was being done on a southern parking lot project for the casino complex.
Locals allege that despite the work being halted back then, the Health Department was only informed of the contamination recently when residents informed authorities.
“Nearby residents, Crown patrons and hundreds of park users have potentially been exposed to the excavated sand since November with no public warning or even signage,” resident Jeff McCann said, adding that authorities had confirmed to him that asbestos was present.
A Health Department spokeswoman stated that work on the site had ceased in early November 2012 upon the discovery of the contaminated materials.
“At the request of the Town of Victoria Park the WA Department of Health inspected the Burswood site on Tuesday, February 5 to assist them to determine any potential health risks,” the spokeswoman said.
“At this time, no risks have been identified.
“When work was stopped, all stock piles were sprayed with hydromulch, an acceptable protection strategy.”
The spokeswoman revealed that the preliminary visual inspection failed to identify any “exposed” asbestos and that “at the current time” there appears to be no public health risks to people nearby parkland, the casino or residents.
“The Department of Health’s inspection did not observe any uncovered stock piles of potentially contaminated materials,” she said.
But the spokeswoman stated that the department had requested a more extensive investigation of certain parts of the site which had been left undisturbed “to establish if there is anything of concern from a health perspective and if so how best it be managed”.
Initial air quality test results reveal that asbestos particles are at a manageable level in West Perth following a large fire in an a
The factory is said to have had an asbestos roof, which caused concerns that the dangerous substance had been released into the air.bandoned factory.
The Vincent council has been significant part of the costly clean up since the explosion; going so far as to pay for the private firm Parsons Brinckerhoff to install several air-testing monitors.
Despite the site being declared safe with regards to asbestos exposure right now, there are still concerns that the construction to be done in the aftermath of the explosion could dig up asbestos dust.
Airborne monitoring at the site is expected to continue during the demolition, which is expected to start within the next few days and last slightly more than a week.
Vicent CEO John Giorgi stated their intention to inform the concerned community of the current status of the clean-up since some residents were concerned when the council made no effort to contact them regarding any health risks.
The clean-up is expected to cost the council between $130,000 to $150,000 because of the need for a demolition and precautions pertaining to asbestos.
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