Working At Heights: Worker Hurt Amid Asbestos Concerns

Asbestos AwarenessAnother Canberra worker was hospitalized following a workplace accident and an inner city building was shutdown amid fears over asbestos handling.

The house-painter was hospitalised with suspected spinal injuries and broken bones following a four-metre fall from a ladder while painting a house.

This incident comes less than a week after a 20-year old apprentice suffered electric shock and fell five metres from a ladder and onto concrete. The apprentice accident took place the same day as a large workers rally for better workplace safety. Since the accident the apprentice has gone from “serious” condition to stable.

WorkSafe Commissioner Mark McCabe said the most recent injury occurred early in the afternoon while the painter was working alone on a house. McCabe stressed the importance for workers and bosses alike to be careful.

Currently the painter is hospitalized and awaiting X-ray results.

McCabe also discussed the Braddon demolition site in which workers have refused to work because of serious safety concerns and the alleged mishandling of asbestos on the job.

According to the building union, a significant amount of asbestos-contaminated rubble was rejected at the Mugga Lane tip because of issues with how it was sealed.

Construction union, CFMEU stopped working at the site because of concerns that basic asbestos safety measures were not being followed.

Branch secretary Dean Hall stated that the workers were inadequately trained and were not properly equipped with safety gear.  In fact, some workers were not wearing any safety gear at all and were exposing themselves to asbestos.

These same workers would reportedly then leave work with asbestos contamination on their clothes and go home to their families without proper decontamination.  There are concerns also that since the large bundle of waste was not sealed properly, fibres could have traveled to other communities.

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