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Unions Raise Asbestos Handling Concerns

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.”

More info on Asbestos Training

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-09/union-raises-qld-asbestos-handling-fears/4617638?section=qld

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