Three Schools in Brisbane are now faced with asbestos concerns amid revelations that construction workers digging trenches at Graceville State Primary school found asbestos
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says alerts have been sent out to the parents of students at Sandgate High School and Rainworth State School regarding recent asbestos concerns.
Langbroek stated that parents, faculty, and students have all been kept in the loop regarding the safety risk.
Langbroek says clear measures are used to deal with any asbestos issues in schools; such as closing off areas, and obtaining the services of professionals to conduct air and soil tests.
Regarding the Graceville case, Langbroek says that two very small discrete pieces of the deadly material were identified and subsequent tests revealed that asbestos particles were not spread throughout those areas.
He says in the Graceville case, two very small, discreet pieces of asbestos have been identified.
Mr Langbroek says there’s a very large amount of asbestos in Queensland schools, dating back to the 1950s.
“We do remove (it). Over last financial year and this financial year, we have a budget of $40 million to go towards removing asbestos,” he said.
“Given the amount of asbestos there though, it’s a small amount. But it’s something that’s at least planned and structured compared to what was happening when I first came into parliament in 2004.”
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The Electrical Trades Union’s David Mier reported having visited approximately 13 sites around Hobart, with some next to asbestos pits.
He alleged that only a small number of subcontractors at the sites had received mandatory asbestos training.
“Not only are they exposing themselves to the potential of asbestos fibres, but the general public as well,” he said.
“Clearly I’d be suggesting the work should cease until they’ve been adequately trained.”
Mier is concerned over reports that uninformed workers are digging up asbestos-lined telephone pits.
“Potentially it can put lives at risk, the workforce and the general public,” he said.
“I’ll be writing a chronology of events and a precis of what we’ve seen here and we’ll be submitting that to Conroy and NBN Co and we’ll be asking questions: why aren’t their obligations being fulfilled?”
The agency responsible for the safety of workers installing the NBN admits there are issues surrounding asbestos.
Comcare has stated intentions of intervening on specific sites.
It says it is working with NBN Co to improve current systems, including around asbestos awareness training.
NBN Co released a statement saying it is investigating the claims.
Its contractor Visionstream says its workers have all received training in asbestos awareness and handling.
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has been contacted for comment.
THE Australian Workers Union visited Hobart saying it feared Cement Australia would hide a long-awaited research report into worker asbestos exposure because of legal advice.
“(The report’s) been going through an editorial process for a couple of years now,” Dr Berger said.
“The promise from the executives always was it would be made public.”
However, Dr Berger said he had been informed company management was still keen to release the academia-related study report but its “legal team will not allow it”.
“At the moment they have backed off – I have been told it will not be released,” he said.
Asbestos Free Tasmania chief executive Susan Wallace said she understood some of the data might be presented to Cement Australia workers, adding she was puzzled as to why it had not yet been made public.
“I’m about to write them a letter on that very matter,” Ms Wallace said.
The historical worker study was part of a four-step strategy to deal with worker asbestos exposure at the site.
The plan included ridding the plant of asbestos, health screenings for workers, a Monash University study to compare the health of workers with the general Railton community, and the historical study involving Goliath Cement board minutes, interviews with former workers and asbestos removal research.
A Cement Australia spokeswoman based interstate said the company was making no comment about the study or disclosure.
“I’m not in a position to comment on that particular matter,” she said.
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.
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Process Overview Video Description
The following is a video description for the 6 minute video displaying ARI Technologies Inc Thermochemical Conversion Process Overview. Each bolded headlines below correlates with the same headlines that can be observed in the video. The text accompanying each bolded headline provides a concise description of what the video demonstrates when the viewer sees each headline in the video.
- Waste Feed Operations: Timed buzzer alerts the worker to push bags of asbestos waste off of a scale and onto a conveyor. Each bag weighs approximately 50 LB and is loaded onto the conveyor every 3.5 minutes. This adds up to a total daily load of 10/tons per day.
- Asbestos Bag Feed & Shredding: The bag is moving up the conveyor across to the conveyor scale where the bag’s weight is electronically recorded prior to being dropped into a shredding system. Shredder housing is held at slight negative pressure and vented through ductwork to HEPA filters in order to avoid the risk of releasing harmful emissions into the workplace. The shredded waste is fluxed, mixed, and conveyed to a feed hopper. One cannot see the flux, mix, or conveyance process since they are all enclosed and out of sight.
- Ram Feeder Pushes Waste into Hearth: The prepared waste hopper can be observed in the background. As the ram extracts, the prepared waste descends from the hopper in the anterior of the ram where it is then pushed into the furnace. Cycle of ram is timed for 10 tons/day.
- First Cake Breaker Breaks up Waste: The rotating shaft is armed with blades to The rotating shaft is equipped with blades to separate the compressed pile of waste just pushed onto the hearth by the ram feeder. It is not possible to view this process because the pile of waste that moves into view from the right conceals this process. The additional cake breaker can be observed in the background rotating in the alternate direction.
- Second Cake Breaker Spreads Waste: The second cake breaker can be seen exposing cooler waste and dispersing it to an even depth on the hearth to increase heat transfer rates, and to achieve uniform heating.
- Removal Plow Collects and Rake Removes Treated Product: the alloy plow gathers treated product on the hearth. The rake intermittently drags the product of the hearth where it is released into a water quench. At this time , the waste The alloy plow gathers treated product on the hearth. The rake intermittently drags the product off of the hearth where it drops into a water quench. At this point, the waste discharge is approximately one-half to- two thirds the mass of feed and one-half to one-tenth the volume of the feed.
- Removal of Treated Product Bins: Treated product is sent from the Treated product is directed from the water quench tank through the auger conveyors to enclosed storage bins where it awaits a confirmation analysis. Each bin has a capacity of approximately 2 tons of product which equals to approximately 4-tons of asbestos fee
- Removal of Treated Product Following Analytical Clearance: Upon being declared as “asbestos-free”, the trap door on the holding bin is opened and the treated product is position on a roll-off bin where it will await transportation off site.
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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.
This article focuses on highlighting the health risks associated with asbestos fibres. We are not going to get to technical. Just give you some basic facts. Asbestos training will help you understand the risks involved. (more…)