Family Concerned With Asbestos Contaminated House

asbestos trainingTenants are concerned that their worn-down leased house in western Melbourne nay be contaminated with asbestos.

The family leasing the house believes there is exposed asbestos in the house and in a shed on a neighboring property.

The family approached the local council but reportedly received no help. They eventually turned to building inspection company Jim’s Building Inspections to assess the property and verify the existence of asbestos.

Inspector Phil Smallman quickly found asbestos on the site after an initial inspection. He has sent the sample to a lab for tests.

“Once we have the results back from the lab we hope that the landlord and rental agencies will enable the family to break the lease, or provide alternative accommodation whilst the asbestos is removed,” Smallman said.

The family is currently attempting to work with the property agent to break the lease– however, if they are prohibited they will bring a case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Smallman is also worried about the dangers of the adjoining shed on the neighbouring property.

“We believe the family living there, who are also probably renters, have recently arrived in Australia and may not be aware of the dangers.”

“Our clients say they are often outside playing cricket against the shed and the ball is constantly pounding and damaging the cladding. If it is asbestos this is very dangerous,” he said.

Smallman added that Jim’s Building Inspections will help with notifying neighbouring occupants, the owners of the neighbouring property, as well as the local council, as he feels someone needs to take responsibility.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/victoria/suspected-asbestos-property-in-melbourne-s-west/2013091765091

Education Minister to Investigate Delayed Asbestos Report

asbestos Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek will investigate claims that there was a long delay in reporting an asbestos discovery at a Brisbane state school.

Thus far, part of the grounds at the Graceville State School have been restricted or closed off until repairs are finished and further testing is conducted.

A recent meeting at the school revealed that asbestos was discovered in May but a report was not filed with Educations Queensland until this month.

Lanbroek states the matter will be closely investigated.

“It would be a question for everyone if any asbestos is found and located, then it’s really important of course that we lock down the situation as the principal did yesterday and then investigate it,” he said.

“We’ll make sure we look into the details of what happened at that parents and community meeting and make sure we advise everyone of the circumstances.”

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-19/minister-to-probe-delayed-asbestos-report-at-brisbane-school/4968070

Council Worried About Railway through Asbestos Town

A Pilbara council has cited health concerns regarding Rio Tinto’s plan to build a railway in close proximity to an asbestos-contaminated former town of Wittenoom.

The town was declared unfit for habitation because of the heavy presence of blue asbestos which was mined in the town until the late 1960s.

The Shire of Ashburton is concerned workers may be at risk, and wants to be free of litigation if the railway construction goes forward.

The line would link Rio’s Koodaideri project to its existing rail line. Koodaideri may become one of the biggest Pilbara’s iron ore mines, with over 70 million tonnes exported annually.

However some analysts believe the project’s US$ 3.2 billion cost may cause delays.

An Environmental Protection Authority spokesman said Rio’s Koodaideri project was being assessed at the highest level before a report went to the Environment Minister.

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 Source:  http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/18939151/asbestos-fears-over-pilbara-rail-plan/

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

Council Calls For Care In Asbestos Disposal

asbestosThe Rockhampton Regional Council is imploring residents to be more cautious after asbestos was supposedly improperly dumped at a council site.

The council found suspected asbestos improperly dumped at a bin station, approximately six times in one week.

Councillor Neil Fisher believes the  quantity hints that the material is from a building site.

“Either a home renovator or a builder that are taking off fibro sheet or asbestos cement sheet off a building site but rather than going to Rockhampton landfill and disposing of them appropriately, what’s happening is they’re actually coming in and just dumping them straight on the ground in the bin station,” he said.

He says people unsure should speak to refer to the council’s waste disposal staff

“If you’ve got a query and you’re not quite sure if that material that you’re taking to the dump could be suspected of being asbestos or not, just enquire at the waste station,” he said.

“The council staff are very, very helpful and will give you the advice that you need.”

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-12/improper-asbestos-dumping-sparks-warning/4879716

Asbestos Training: New Hope For Patients With Cancer Caused By Asbestos

asbestos trainingAustralian scientists may be on the brink of a historical breakthrough for people who suffer from the deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Mesolthelioma affects only a fraction of people exposed to the deadly substance, but it is fairly common in Australia with 650 new cases per year.

The disease, which is currently incurable, takes approximately 35 years to emerge, and kills with in 18 months of diagnosis.

Preliminary tests with the treatment have reportedly been very promising, with remarkable results in tests on mice with malignant mesothelioma.

Institute director Professor Nico van Zandwijk and his team are currently working towards being able to test the treatment on human subjects.  First stage trials at the end of 2013 will determine the optimal and safe dose.

Professor van Zandwijk says he does not want to raise false hope, but he is cautiously optimistic the treatment will work.

”I think the whole concept is sound and we feel very reassured,” he said.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/asbestos-cancer-breakthrough-20130731-2qzk8.html#ixzz2ao38Q793

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 Risks Prompt Work Stoppage for Posties

asbestos trainingAustralian Postal workers  have stopped delivery of mail throughout a Sydney street,  fearing  possible asbestos contamination linked to the national broadband network (NBN) rollout.

The government-owned postal service said mail delivery to Hornseywood Avenue in Penrith was halted temporarily.

“We made that decision for the safety of our staff and after discussions with the council and WorkCover,” a spokesperson told AAP on Wednesday.

Australia Post said deliveries are will not resume until Telstra finishes their audit on the practices of contractors upgrading pits as part of the NBN rollout.

This comes as work on the NBN was suspended after a Penrith resident contacted WorkCover concerned that asbestos safety procedures weren’t being followed.

The telco hopes it will have the sites cleaned up by Thursday and is asking affected residents to give permission for a clean-up.

Residents have been told they can collect their mail from the Australia Post Nepean Business Hub.

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Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/work-on-nbn-suspended-amid-asbestos-fears/story-fn3dxiwe-1226652881991

Kambah Family Suffers Asbestos Exposure

WorkSafe ACT will direct a  Canberra builder to the Director of Public Prosecutions after workers risked the lives of a  Kambah family by risking exposing them to asbestos.

Over a month ago, parents Justin and Erin Thompson had to leave their home for more than three weeks after builders used angle grinders to cut through asbestos sheeting during bathroom renovations, contaminating the family’s home.

”Our neighbour came over and told us he thought there was asbestos being placed out the front of our house,” Mr Thompson said.

”He confronted the builder and the guy told him he didn’t know what he was talking about, so our neighbour called WorkSafe and they tested it and confirmed it was very dangerous.”

Over 120 personal items, such as dozens of contaminated children’s toys, had to be destroyed in order to prevent further risks to the family.

WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe said  they had issued three prohibition notices,as well as two improvement notices and two infringements.

”There is no such thing as asbestos which is not dangerous so this is very concerning, especially coming from an established company who members of the public would assume they can trust,” he said.

”We are treating this case very seriously and my advice for anyone worried about what work is being undertaken at their home is to immediately contact ACT Planning and Land Authority or WorkSafe and we will investigate.”

NSW Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Neville Betts was appalled at the case. ‘The poor buggers sat through three days of asbestos risk because of the dodgy builder,” he said. ”I have had a quick chat to some other union members and we have asked the family to give us a list of the children’s toys so we can replace them.”

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Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/family-exposed-to-deadly-asbestos-20130517-2jsjg.html#ixzz2UNBODBuv

SafeWork/EPA Dish Out Notices For Asbestos Issues

Safework and the EPA have handed out a total of 74 compliance notices to 11 licensed removers after conducting a recent audit.

The notices call for improvements on a variety of matters including asbestos removal methods, safe storage and the frequency of respiratory equipment testing. 

SafeWork SA executive director Bryan Russell  revealed that this was simply the the first stage of a statewide audit of 70 licensed removalists.

“We will not be happy until asbestos is removed entirely from all workplaces but obviously that’s a long-term vision and we’re working towards ensuring that the safest possible processes are in place to manage asbestos in its current form,” he said.

Mr Russell has been pleased with cooperation most companies have had with them.

“This is not something that you would be complacent with. Asbestos is not an area that we would ever say that we are satisfied with what’s happening,” he said.

“We will remain vigilant and we expect businesses to be vigilant with respect to the management of asbestos.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-23/compliance-notices-issued-over-asbestos/4707804?section=sa

Asbestos Training: Mesothelioma and 9/11

Fallout: 9/11 and the Risk of Ground Zero

 

It is no secret the terrible attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11,2001 had many affects on the lives of New Yorkers. Over 2,500 lives were tragically taken on that day and the days to follow. Now, over ten years later, the general public is taking notice of more WTC casualities  as the nation’s first responders, and NYC residents are dying of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease.

Doctors and other experts have long predicted that the future held an onslaught of mesolthelioma cases in the NYC area which was caused by the torrent of asbestos fibres that rained down on the city’s fire fighters, police, paramedics and other local residents.  Those who remained in the city can recall that lower manhattan was covered in a grayish dust which was said to be consisted of glass shards, asbestos, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and various other dangerous substances.

It is unclear how much asbestos was actually released into the air upon the demolition of the the towers’ remains. However, the WTC construction had commenced before the use of asbestos was banned. Subsequently, a spray-on asbestos fire retardant was reportedly used in the lower section of the towers. When use of asbestos was banned in 1971, the remaining areas of the towers were fitted with a different insulating material. Despite this, it is said that up to 400 tonnes of asbestos fiber was in the buildings when they collapsed.

Many first-responders developed immediate health problems such as the “The World Trade Centre Cough” .  One study  even revealed that over  85% of those who initially responded to the tragedy were suffering from some sort of respiratory illness.  Studies have shown that over 110,000 (est) people have potentially been exposed to the deadly substance. 

These same reports show that in an effort to quickly clean up debris,  proper precautions were not taken to protect workers from harm nor were standard and necessary asbestos abatement procedures followed.  

Asbestos related deaths are expected to increase drastically, not just in NY, but throughout the world as well due to it being commonly used in the past for building and construction material. As the popularity of DIY home renovation tv-series’ increase, do do the amount of people who practice it which has subsequently raised the risk of  mesothelioma and other asbestos related disease.

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Source: http://www.mesotheliomasos.com/

 

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

Ausgrid Tackles Underground Asbestos At Substations

By Christmas time workers will have commenced the removal of  asbestos from Sydney’s small underground power stations. This is seen as a effort to rid the entire power industry of the deadly building material.

Asbestos will be removed from 10 small electricity substations throughout the city in the next few months,  in areas such as  Circular Quay and Hyde Park.

The Electrical Trades Union unveiled internal Ausgrid documents last month that documented approximately 49 asbestos-related illness cases at the company over 22-years. The union reports that friable– or easily crumbled– asbestos is still hidden away at the underground electricity substations and meter boards. They have since called on the companies to be reviewed and have the asbestos removed.

However, an Ausgrid spokesman said the holiday asbestos-removal was was part of the provider’s ”normal asbestos removal program” at over 250 substations under the city’s footpaths and roadways.

The spokesperson stated that the work will predominantly take place in the evening to avoid significant disruptions, but a small number of households will experience interrupted electricity supply.

The spokesman added,anyone being affected by electricity cuts will be notified of any planned interruption.

According to the government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, estimates indicate there have already been at least 4,700 deaths from mesothelioma in Australia since records began in the early 1980s. Over 25,000 Australians will die from it over the next 40 years and currently 500 men and 100 women develop mesothelioma annually in Australia. This number is expected to rise to 900 cases per annum  by 2020.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/power-stations-to-be-rid-of-asbestos-20121206-2ay5s.html#ixzz2EUpFtmqe

 

People Must Stay Alert As Asbestos Can Exist Anywhere

 

Paul Howes, national secretary of the AWU  recently published an  article regarding asbestos victims.  In it he described how asbestos exposure victims  try to live their lives the best they can, considering the welfare of their families over their own. But underneath the courage lies a furious sense of betrayal that they were left unprotected and exposed to the fatal substance.

The physical toll the disease has taken is apparent for all to see, but  the emotional toll while not visible, is significant.

The danger of asbestos has not dissipated, in fact many experts believe there will be a  new batch of unfortunate victims of  recent exposure in the coming years.

Breathing in airborne asbestos fibres can be deadly at even the smallest amounts. Unfortunately, many homes throughout Australia that were built prior to 1988, may have have been built with asbestos building material.

Simply doing DIY renovations on a home can result in asbestos exposure and subsequently, lifelong problems.

Approximately 600 people die of asbestos-related diseases (such as Mesothelioma) annually. It is therefore imperative that people remain vigilant and aware, and treating asbestos very cautiously.

The federal government has embarked on an asbestos cleaning mission, and has set up an Office of Asbestos Management. This office would deal with the management and eventual removal of the fatal material. Unions hope that the agency will herald in a plan to remove all asbestos from Australia by 2030.

Workers have consistently been pitted against their employers as a result of asbestos exposure. Average people have been up against large companies for their part in the dumping of asbestos.  Fortunately, there has been some level of financial compensation for their suffering, but it cannot begin to suffice when considering the amount of suffering these victims endure.

One would think that this type of thing is rare and workers will no longer be exposed to these dangers again. However the use of asbestos was only banned in Australia in 2003 and as seen in the news,  many big corporations have been accused of dodging safety laws and responsibilities to workers.

It is a very unfortunate when  someone dies as a result of something that has happened to them at work and every effort should be made by companies to ensure that the proper training and equipment is provided when there is a potential of exposure.

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 Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/vigilance-is-vital-as-asbestos-killer-lurks-everywhere/story-fndo317g-1226518940630

State and Federal Government At Loggerheads on Asbestos Issue

Talks  intended to solve Canberra’s buried asbestos crisis have  come to a standstill after  the territory government accused the Commonwealth of double standards.

Both sides are now deadlocked on determining who will shell out  hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up over 100 sites around the capital where deposits of the fatal building material might have been buried for decades.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says the federal government has funded elaborate asbestos removal operations on various contaminated sites but is negating  responsibility for others. Gallagher is appealing to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to get involved.

Regional Affairs and Local Government department stated that they are developing a national solution to buried asbestos.

The deadlock creates difficulties for Canberra’s important urban renewal project, the East Lake development in Kingston. It was all set for medium and high-density housing for up to 8000 occupants.  There is reportedly, over 600,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil at the East Lake site. Much of the waste are remnants from the construction of the Parliament House. The estimated cost for cleanup is $90 million

The Commonwealth has allegedly refused to assist in the cleanup, arguing that the ACT state-government must accept responsibility. Ms Gallagher said the Commonwealth had cleaned up polluted land at Kingston Rail Yards, on former National Railways land and that defence sites at Bonner and Lawson had been remediated at federal expense. To refuse to fund clean-ups at other sites was ”inconsistent.”

Ms Gallagher said the talks between the two parties, convened last year after she threatened to sue the Commonwealth, had broken down but that the territory would not stop pursing an agreement with the federal government.

”I consider the Commonwealth has a moral and financial obligation to the citizens of the ACT to assist in remediation of sites contaminated prior to self-government,” Ms Gallagher said.

”The Commonwealth has accepted responsibility for remediation in a number of cases on an ad hoc basis.”

There  are said to be approximately 114 former landfill sites that are contaminated, leading to problems for the sites construction.

A spokesman for the Department of Regional Australia and Local Government said that a national plan was being developed for the management of buried asbestos.

”The Commonwealth remains committed to finding ways to address asbestos management issues nationally,” the spokesman said.

”We established the Office of Asbestos Safety in September 2012 to respond to the broad-ranging Asbestos Management Review and to develop a national strategic plan by 1 July 2013.

Source: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/gallagher-plea-to-pm-as-asbestos-talks-fail-20121116-29hxd.html#ixzz2DARAjxWW

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Asbestos Training: Asbestos Dumping Discovered At Reserve

A large and worrisome amount of highly degraded asbestos material is dispersed throughout a popular recreational area.

The Peter Murrell Reserve at Howden is reportedly ridden with broken pieces of the deadly substance which was dumped there by unprincipled renovators. Amidst the scattered refuse is blue asbestos, said to be the most fatal to human beings.Even though the problem was reported to authorities two months ago, and despite an apparent clean up, hundreds of asbestos fragments remain on the ground of the park.

Asbestos was a popular building material used in the post-war era, prior to being progressively banned from the 1980s. Inhalation — regardless of how minute, can cause fatal mesothelioma years or even decades after exposure.

Builder Scott Cordwell was horrified to find asbestos throughout the reserve.

“I just live around the corner and I walk my dogs around there,” he said. “I went up there and I noticed a lot of it kicking around. This stuff is broken down and weathered and it’s quite a risk … if you pick it up it just disintegrates.”

There is a distinct lack of warning signs or barriers preventing members from the public from being exposed to the deadly material.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney recalls hearing reports of asbestos in the reserve from Workplace Standards Tasmania and Kingborough Council in October.

“A sample of the asbestos was collected. This was tested and confirmed to be asbestos,” he said.

“PWS staff then removed and disposed of a small amount of material on 23 October according to the proper process for disposal of asbestos.’

“Given that dumping of material such as this in bushland close to urban areas was a very common occurrence for many years, there may be other small deposits at the reserve.

“PWS will continue to remove this material as it is found and as it is reported by members of the public.”

The revelation comes days after  the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation launched the Tasmanian Parliamentary Interest Group on Asbestos.

AFTF spokeswoman Susan Wallace is concerned that asbestos might be present in the reserve and believes an investigation and clean-up is urgently needed.

“If it’s lying around like that it should be a matter of priority,” she said. “They need to get an appropriately trained person in there to get some samples and do some testing and as a matter of urgency they need to organise a clean-up. Any asbestos that is releasing fibres into the air poses a health risk.”

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http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/11/22/366586_tasmania-news.html 

NSW Orders Asbestos Audit on Energy Companies

The NSW government has ordered an industry-wide asbestos audit for the state’s big electricity providers following meetings with unions and power companies.

Energy Minister Chris Hartcher agreed to the audit after a “productive meeting” with the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and representatives of power providers Endeavour Energy, Ausgrid and Essential Energy.

“The government is keen to ensure that asbestos management, removal and training plans are adequate to ensure worker and community protection,” Mr Hartcher said in a statement.However, he said the issue might need a national approach.

During the meeting, the union demanded asbestos removal across the industry after raising concerns about its workers being at risk of asbestos exposure.It followed the union’s release on Tuesday of internal Ausgrid documents which showed about 49 cases of asbestos-related illness at the company in 22 years.The ETU claims there is still friable – or easily-crumbled – asbestos at underground electricity substations and meter boards.

Workcover NSW is coordinating the audit, which will involve Endeavour Energy, Ausgrid and Essential Energy, TransGrid and the state’s power generators Delta Electricity, Macquarie Generation and Eraring Energy.Representatives from all parties will meet for the first time on November 14 to agree on terms of reference to set out the process for asbestos removal across the industry.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said he welcomed the government’s decision.

“It’s a compete turnaround (by the companies),” he told AAP on Thursday.

“We have zero tolerance to asbestos, it’s got to be removed.”

The audit will bring each company’s own auditing processes into one single system, Mr Butler said.

“What’s been identified is that those audits are out of sync.

“They are all different, so now there will be the one audit to cover the whole industry.”

Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2012/11/08/20/00/asbestos-audit-for-nsw-energy-companies

Asbestos: The Stealth Assassin

Initially it was miners and tradesmen who fell victim to asbestos, now reports have indicated that the deadly substance has been attacking people at home.

In the 70’s and 80’s every night a husband and father returned home from work, embracing their children and wives, unknowingly exposing their families to the invisible but very deadly asbestos fibres. Asbestos was used very often because it was cheap,strong, waterproof and fireproof– essentially the perfect material for builders. Asbestos fibres are 50- to-200 times thinner than human hair, and they invade people’s lungs laying dormant for many years before developing into fatal asbestos-caused cancers.

All evidence seems to indicate that Lou Williams, 57, developed mesothelioma from the warm embraces she received from her father, or even simply washing his overalls or vacuuming his car.Norm Williams was a plasterer on stores in shopping centres before being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1985. He succumbed to the disease six months later at the age of  54. His daughter never believed she could have developed the disease either until she received the shocking news in 2003.

Since then, Williams has had to endure an grueling 18 sessions of chemotherapy, and has even said goodbye to her daughters, husband, family and friends.

Since then, Williams has had to endure an grueling 18 sessions of chemotherapy, and has even said goodbye to her daughters, husband, family and friends. Miraculously she is still alive but after attending dozens of mesothelioma related funerals, she’s avoided planning events four-weeks in advance, and has resigned her self to the fact that she may not live to see her next birthday.

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According to the Asbestos Management Review Report released in August, there have been 4700 deaths from mesothelioma in Australia since records began in the early ’80s.  Estimates indicate that an additional 25,000 people will die over the next four decades. According to Asbestoswise over 2500 people are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases in Australia every year.

These include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis (a condition that restricts breathing by hardening and scarring the lung) and pleural plaques (thickened patches on the chest and lung lining).

Exposure Risks

The mining of asbestos in Australia been prohibited and there has not been any importation of the deadly substance since 2003. “It’s difficult to tell if a material contains asbestos,” says Anna Trzekwas, from Asbestos Removal Melbourne. “If you’re worried, call in a WorkSafe licensed removalist to check it. If necessary, they can safely remove the asbestos, too.”

Homes built after 1988 should be asbestos free. Pre-1984 do hold a risk of containing asbestos ridden material.

Asbestos may be present in hot water pipes, old heaters, stoves and ceiling insulation, as well as brakes, clutches and gaskets on pre-2003 cars.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/asbestossilent-killer-in-homes/story-fndo317g-1226509631760 

WA Proposes Removing Levy To End Illegal Asbestos Dumping

asbestos awarenessThe Illegal disposal of asbestos in Perth is expected to end after a landfill levy for the deadly substance is dropped, according to the WA government.

The exemption will be in place as early as Januay 2013, and will apply to asbestos sheeting bound in black plastic– however asbestos- contaminated soil will still be subject to the levy.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion stated that the new measure is intended to discourage and deter illegal dumping.

Regardless of increased fines, people had continuously dumped asbestos sheeting in bushland and other sites away from public scrutiny.  The Waste Authority advised that the landfill levy could be unintentionally pushing people to people to dispose of asbestos waste improperly.

“This is good news for small business and families, reducing costs and protecting the health of communities and the environment,” Mr Marmion said.

More on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/wa-bid-to-stop-illegal-asbestos-dumping-by-removing-landfill-levy/story-e6frg13u-1226512262288

Asbestos Training: Deadly Substance Found At Girl Guides Hall

ASBESTOS AWARENESSWorkplace Standards Tasmania is inquiring how asbestos was left undetected at a demolition site in the state’s south.

The deadly substance was buried in the infrastructure of a Girl Guides hall which was demolished for new council chambers.The asbestos was discovered at a rental property where it was misidentified as cleanfill.

Thomas Connelly who resides on the site is considering relocating his family because he fears for his three children’s health. He has subsequently contacted the council, the EPA and the Tenancy Union. Connelly wants out of his lease immediately as he is worried the presence of the substance could have deadly implications.

Connelly recalled stories regarding children who have played near mines in the past and have eventually be diagnosed with cancer. He is concerned that it only takes a small amount of exposure to result in cancer or a related disease.According to the site manager Bill Costin, a report is currently being prepared. Costin said checks had been done on the structure years ago but they missed the asbestos because it was “below the ground”.

Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation spokeswoman Susan Wallace stressed that what is above the ground isn’t the only important  aspect since asbestos had been crushed in the past from demolitions and used to fill foundations.Wallace said this incident teaches those in the industry that simply checking the building is not sufficient.

The council informed the public that the asbestos has since been removed from both sites.  However, Connelly claims that it has not been removed and it is 100 metres from his home.

Mr Costin alleges that he was removed and he will investigate further.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-11/absestos-find-at-girl-guides-hall/4307212?section=tas 

Work Continues At Site Despite Asbestos Concerns

asbestos awarenessWorkSafe ACT has permitted work to continue on an Canberra construction site despite recent asbestos handling concerns.

Construction union, CFMEU is pushing for the hotel redevelopment site to be shut down amidst concerns.

According to the union, asbestos was neither being removed nor disposed of properly which has prompted workers to refuse returning to work.

CFMEU ACT branch secretary Dean Hall remarked that workers were not wearing proper protective gear nor were they being properly decontaminated once they’ve commenced work.

Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe stated that inspectors have visited the site and are satisfied with the employers efforts to address union concerns. McCabe said an asbestos removal company was referred by the ACT Planning and Land Authority which are responsible for licencing.

Prior to the inspection, Hall had expressed concerns that both workers and the public were potentially being exposed to the deadly substance.

Hall stated that a number of issues are cause for concern.

” We have the direct threat that there could be something go wrong with the demolition process and not only kill workers on the site but more importantly there is no or very little protection for the public,” he said.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-27/asbestos-fears-at-canberra-building-site/4282806?section=act

Home Renovators Warned Of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos AwarenessDo-IT-Yourself home renovators are being encouraged to not become the next generation of Tasmanian victims to the deadly substance, asbestos.

Majority of homes built prior to 1990 are expected to have some asbestos and many experts are concerned that most people are completely unaware of the dangers.Asbestos Free Tasmania CEO Susan Wallace stated that approximately 15 people are diagnosed in Tasmania with mesothelioma every year and she is worried that a new wave of victims will emerge out of home renovators.

According to Wallace, Australia has the highest rate of asbestos-related deaths from mesothelioma. She said the number ranges between 600 and 700 annually. She added that a new wave of preventable diseases is emerging in people exposed to asbestos from home renovations.

Occupational Hygienist Caroline Langley said Tasmania appeared to have a higher number of homes with asbestos. Langley stated that they are seeing an increase in the number of individuals who are renovating instead of buying new properties.

In fact,  president of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, Barry Robson stated that the number of women developing mesothelioma fell within the renovation boom.

Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten recently announced plans to set up a national office to oversee asbestos awareness and management issues. This agency will be independent of other safety watchdog organisations and will focus squarely on asbestos related issues.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/09/05/358841_real-estate-news.html

 

 

How Can We Make Australia Asbestos-Free

Asbestos AwarenessIn a recently published article, Paul Bastian, the National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union,  explained how Australia could be asbestos-free in the future.

After  several years of litigation and lobbying, Australia still suffers from a problem with asbestos. Bastian believes the federal government needs step it up and provide leadership on this public health issue.

Asbestos can still be found in bathrooms, kitchens, roofs and garages in approximately 66% of all Australia homes built between 1945 and 1980.

Australia’s alleged penchant home-renovation is uncovering much of this asbestos, and Bastian believes that poor community awareness and a variety of different laws relating to asbestos is compounding the asbestos danger.

The other problem is that up until the late 1970s nothing was written on asbestos to identify it, so you can’t necessarily tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it.

The World Health Organisation states that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and the inhalation of asbestos fibres is known to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other respiratory diseases.

Australia has the unenviable record of having the highest incidence of asbestos related diseases in the world, and it’s estimated that up to 18,000 Australians are likely to die from mesothelioma by 2020.

That’s why the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, the ACTU, the Cancer Council Australia, and asbestos support groups are now calling for the removal of all asbestos from public and private buildings by 2030.

That may sound like a costly exercise, but the long-term cost of inaction is far greater.

63 year-old Queenslander Ray Colbert is someone who knows just how costly exposure to asbestos can be.

Ray worked with asbestos for nine years while he was in the Royal Australian Navy.

He now suffers from asbestosis, is wheelchair bound, and can only breathe with the help of a respirator.

Ray is part of the second wave of asbestos victims who were exposed to the product through work, and he says there needs to be an education campaign to ensure there is not a third wave of victims exposed to asbestos in the home.

“We have to have a proper safety audit to identify it and once we’ve done that we can then set about planning its removal. Till then you’re just going to create another hazard and contaminate more people.”

The AMWU along with the ACTU is are calling on the Federal Government to establish a National Asbestos Authority to act as an information hub and coordinate this asbestos removal and education.

We need to help the public identify what products were made containing asbestos and ensure there is a role for local government in asbestos removal.

A first step in this process would be to introduce asbestos safety certificates on the sale of any property or commercial dwelling. This would enable vendors to identify if there is asbestos, where it’s located, what condition it’s in, and how it can be removed.

The public health challenges posed by asbestos time-bomb are great and we need supportive public policy to prevent further suffering and disease.

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Curtis Island LNG Hub Workers Exposed to Asbestos by Employer

Asbestos AwarenessTrainingAccording to a union spokesperson, Queensland Island workers have potentially been exposed to asbestos by their American employer.The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is pushing for an inquiry into the US engineering  powerhouse Bechtel since the alleged exposure to asbestos at Queensland’s future LNG hub, Curtis Island.

ETU state secretary Peter Simpson revealed that he has evidence that 90 out of the union’s 200 members working on the island, were exposed to the cancerous substance while  working with construction materials supplied by Indonesia’s Metito.

Simpson stated that results of the investigation show that Bechtel, the main contractor of the site,  failed basic duties of care which subsequently resulted in exposure to white asbestos — an illegal and deadly substance. The union is currently attempting to will Bechtel into revealing the location and depth of their dealings with Metito. The union wants to have full transparency before,during and after exposures.

Bechtel has apparently also denied worker’s wages following their recent absences from work after the asbestos exposure.

This is one of various asbestos related cases to emerge in the past month. Asbestos exposure is potentially fatal and can result in numerous ailments, such as mesothelioma and other cancers.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/electrical-trades-union-claims-workers-on-curtis-island-queenslands-planned-lng-hub-have-allegedly-been-exposed-to-asbestos/story-e6freoof-1226439513940

ACT Hints At Legal Action Against Feds Over Asbestos Removal Costs

Asbestos Removal TrainingThe ACT government is thinking about taking legal action against the Federal Government over the steep cost of cleaning up asbestos.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher discussed her unsuccessful attempts at convincing the Commonwealth into funding some of the clean-up costs from when it dumped a significant amount of contaminated soil in Canberra.

Gallagher claims the ACT government spent approximately $30 million to clean up and resign in the new Molonglo development. Almost 180,000 tonnes of asbestos were reportedly removed from the site by the ACT.

A site with 600,000 cubic metres of contaminated waste in Eastlake is expected to cost about $100 million to remove.
Gallagher strongly supports the ACT in their quest to convince the Commonwealth to contribute. The support she has stems from the belief that since the former government authority allowed such practices to occur then Canberra tax payers should not be held liable.

However, the Federal Government is expected to counter on the basis that since the land was transferred to the ACT, liability did as well.

The position of the opposition is that tax payers should not be held financially liable for the “incompetence” of the former governing authority.

More info on Asbestos Training

Source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-07/act-set-to-sue-commonwealth-over-asbestos-dumping/4057132?section=act

 

Asbestos Training Breaches Cause Concern At ACM Removal Site

Asbestos Removal TrainingWorkers are concerned that the state’s biggest asbestos-removal site is risking safety by frequently breaching procedure.

Worker’s anonymously contacted The Advertiser news source and informed them that are doubtful that the correct removal methods were used in the first four months of the project. These four months involved the clean-up of 93,000 sq m of asbestos sheeting on the former Mitsubishi  manufacturing site.

SafeWork SA officers visit the site frequently and have had inspectors issue statutory notices for non-compliant work practices.

Some of the breaches include a failure to comply with PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for asbestos-removal. However, there have been reports by former workers (who have quit) that the dangers extend far beyond PPE issues. Some issues have been cited regarding the handling of asbestos sheeting once it is removed from the factory structure by DE-Construct.

One worker stated that sheets were simply “dumped” into trucks with a plastic lining, causing airborne asbestos particles and dust.  Workers have also cited concerns with the thick cloud of dust in the factory that they believe may contain asbestos.

A spokesperson for the company stated that the company’s top priority was the safety of their workers.

Asbestos removal is being carried out according to EPA guidelines and under the watchful eye of SafeWork SA.

More information on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/asbestos-clean-up-breach-fears-at-old-mitsubishi-site/story-e6frea83-1226370401166 

ALERTFORCE LAUNCHING NEW ASBESTOS REMOVAL TRAINING PROGRAM

NEWS RELEASE

May 29th, 2012

 

POTTS POINT, NSW– Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training company, AlertForce (AF), launched an online training program that aims to arm participants with the knowledge and capability, to effectively and safely attend to situations involving asbestos removal. New regulations under the Work Health and Safety Act mean that many states will require Asbestos Industry existing participants to have nationally recognised training by 31st December, 2013. New entrants to the industry should be trained now.

For over six years AlertForce has offered quality competency-based, online asbestos awareness training to various professionals including industry leaders and employees. AF’s original Asbestos Awareness training course has now been updated so that it is compliant with the most recent regulations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

In addition to this update, AF has replaced their Asbestos Removal training course with a new, nationally recognised course for Asbestos Removal which will be available on June 1, 2012.

AlertForce’s new Asbestos Removal course, CPCCDE3014A: Remove Non-Friable Asbestos will enable participants to effectively and safely remove non-friable asbestos containing material (ACM). This course will specifically target areas such as; preparation, containment and removal of non-friable ACM, as well as decontamination and disposal needs. In addition to the soon-to-be launched Asbestos Removal training course, there will also be two other units included that target other aspects of asbestos removal.  The following additional units are offered:

The Supervise Asbestos Removal (CPCCBC4051A) course will train participants to be competent in supervising the removal process of asbestos or ACM. This course will explore areas such as the planning and supervising of the removal of asbestos or asbestos containing material, preparing the worksite, and using safe and approved removal methods. Conduct Asbestos Assessment associated with Removal (CPCCBC5014A) will ensure that participants are competent and able to perform assessments and use a diverse array of measuring devices for the monitoring of airborne asbestos fibres in the workplace. Participants will also learn how to properly identify hazards and risks, and how to determine that an area is free of asbestos contamination and safe for reoccupation.

“Our newly added Asbestos Removal courses are detailed and extensive while remaining as clear and concise as any other course that we offer at Alertforce. These nationally recognized units are of the utmost importance for any industry leaders or professionals who want to have quality training in the asbestos removal process! says Brendan Torazzi, AlertForce company founder.

Upon successful completion of these units, participants will receive a Statement of Attainment signifying their competence in the respective areas. These Statements are then used as evidence of competency for State OHS Regulators when required. In addition to knowing how to safely remove a harmful and deadly substance, participants will also gain a useful employability skill.

 

AlertForce (http://alertforce.com.au) specialises in delivering fast, competency-

based, interactive short online courses to mitigate risk and health and safety hazards in

Australian workplace.

 

Contact: Brendan Torazzi – CEO AlertForce. Ph: 1300 627 246

 

 

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Asbestos Awareness: Company Fined For Importing Asbestos

Asbestos TrainingA company appeared in Perth Magistrates Court where they received fines for importing asbestos into Australia.

The global engineering company Clyde Bergemann Senior Thermal was found to be accountable for a $64,000 fine  for penalties and costs of importing the deadly substance in machinery parts.

3 years ago, CBST imported over 60 machinery parts from China which was allegedly supposed to be used in the development of a power plant.

Customs and Border protection discovered that the machinery contained chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos. It is currently banned for importation under the customs regulations since it can cause serious health defects such as lung cancer.

A year later, the company imported an additional 60 parts with asbestos in it.

CBST was subsequently found guilty of two counts of importing prohibited substances.

More info on Asbestos Awareness

Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/asbestos-importer-slapped-with-64000-fine-20120507-1y8l2.html#ixzz1uExSVjs3

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