Asbestos Procedures Must Be in Writing: Union

Caution Asbestos Hazard

A union is recommending that workers at the Barangaroo project in central Sydney refuse to resume work until formal procedures to prevent asbestos exposure are put in writing.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has blasted project owner Lend Lease, saying there were no asbestos monitors where the asbestos had been found and that nothing had been done about previous detections of the material on the site. The union also claimed workers had not received any training concerning how to handle the dangerous material.

According to a report on Australian Associated Press (AAP), around 150 workers stopped work and were removed from the site after asbestos was detected during an inspection by the union on Tuesday. A stop work meeting was held at the site on Wednesday morning.

According to the report, CFMEU NSW State Secretary Brian Parker has demanded that formal procedures to detect and deal with asbestos on the site be put in writing. Parker is confident that work will not resume on the site until this is done.

“We want the procedures in writing, to say what the procedures are and how they’re going to be carried out, so that there is no further exposure,” the report quotes Parker as saying.

Lend Lease says it has monitoring devices stationed throughout the site to detect asbestos, adding that it informs all workers of the dangers of asbestos as part of its induction process into the company.

Parker says, however, that the union did not see any monitors where asbestos was found yesterday, and workers have told him that nothing has been done about previous detections of asbestos on the site.

As for training, Parker says none of the workers he spoke to had received any instruction at all about how to work with asbestos.

“They certainly haven’t had any asbestos training, not the 150 workers we spoke to,” he says.

The AAP report says all workers will be tested with lung functioning tests and chest X-rays for asbestos exposure, a process that could take months.

By Ahn Jae Wook
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