According to a post on the Workplace Safety website, SafetyCulture.com.au yet another asbestos contamination has been discovered at not one but 2 Queensland based broadband network (NBN) work sites.
The following excerpt was taken from the post on SafetyCulture.com.au and explains further:
At one site it was water blasted onto workers faces inside an underground telecommunications pit in Brisbane and at another site in Mackay asbestos dust was left unattended for five days.
Jarrod Bleijie, the state Attorney-General, said that he is concerned about the workers in the state not having the training or protection to safely deal with asbestos after the discoveries by the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland were made known.
The safety breaches with asbestos include:
– In March two workers were water blasted by asbestos in a pit in Carseldine
– In Mackay asbestos dust was left for five days after a concrete pipe was cut in April
– Asbestos was abandoned on a footpath and workers wore the incorrect safety masks
– In Banyo two workers used respirators incorrectly
Meanwhile Telstra, the company involved says they are facing clean-up costs of more than $50 million. They have also admitted that there may actually be around 1.5 million pits that still contain asbestos.
Everyone has expressed their shock and concern about the incidents of people being exposed to asbestos because of NBN rollouts, with the Labour government saying they were previously assured by the National Broadband Network (NBN) that the asbestos issue was under control.
Apparently there have been 30 reported asbestos incidents with Telstra ducts and pits since 1996 to date but most of these have occurred in the last few weeks and months.
What’s even more alarming is the fact that Telstra has 8 million cabling pits nationally and it is believed that 10-20 per cent may contain asbestos. About 60,000 pits involved with the rollout of the NBN are expected to contain asbestos.
The problem seems to have stemmed from the fact that James Hardie had built the pits many years ago. James Hardie became infamous after the company was disgraced because of their dependence on asbestos materials in the past and for causing the sickness and death of many people due to asbestos exposure. Telstra has assured the government that they had the matter under control.
Politicians are still debating over the issue with newspapers reporting that workplace minister Bill Shorten accused the Opposition of playing politics in the midst of fears that the NBN contractors may have exposed the public to asbestos.Legislation to set up a new national asbestos agency has passed the lower house, watch this video which explains further: