Concerned workers of Tasmania have sought the help of UNIONS Tasmania (Tasmanian branch of ACTU) to get assurance that the removal of asbestos is being done safely at the worksites of National Broadband Network.
The rollout and construction of fire optic resulted to dug up streets where asbestos-lined telephone pits are being fixed. Some 45 Tasmanian suburbs and towns are currently affected by the diggings for the NBN rollout.
The UNIONS secretary Kevin Harkins said, "I rang Workplace Standards and asked them to investigate it thoroughly, and I couldn't say what's happened since then. I haven't heard back in detail."
Mr. Harkins issued a report to the Workplace Standards regarding about fortnight ago after he received a call from an NBN worker who was concerned with being exposed to asbestos.
More calls from concerned workers with same concerns occurred in the last week of April. Hence, Mr. Harkins had become more worried and said "If they were satisfied in their own mind that the process was keeping them safe they wouldn't be ringing me. I rang Workplace Standards and asked them to investigate it thoroughly, and I couldn't say what's happened since then. I haven't heard back in detail."
"Nothing out of the ordinary" was the only reply of Workplace Standards spokeswoman regarding the unearthing of asbestos in worksites.
Meanwhile, senior Workplace Standards inspector Ivan Ebdon said through a letter that asbestos was being handled with caution during the NBN rollout.
Mr Ebdon explained that telephone pits were being wet cut before being exposed to digging to keep any asbestos safely in the pit. Dry pits could be sprayed with a liquefied PVA adhesive to bind asbestos fibres.
To alert the public, asbestos removal signs were erected. Wearing protective gear is a must for any labourer working on asbestos removal.
Three Winners from Queensland
Three Queenslanders adjudged winners of the recently concluded 8th National Safe Work Awards.
Origin Alliance, Zemek Engineering Pty Ltd and Paul Gear from the Gold Coast City Council were the recipients of awards for Best Workplace Health and Safety Management System, Best Workplace Health and Safety Practice/s in a Small Business and Best Individual Contribution to Workplace Health and Safety by a Work Health and Safety Manager, respectively.
“The Safe Work Awards show just what can be achieved when government and industry work together to make safer workplaces.” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Jarrod Bleijie, as he congratulated the winners.
The Minister encouraged each one to be creative and to “think outside the box” when it comes to improving work safety standards.
According to him, Queensland is well and truly the leader when it comes to making workplaces safer for everyone. “I hope these wins inspire greater efforts from all workplaces to keep their workers safe and share their initiatives with others.” Justice Bleijie added.
As of the record, more than 5,000 Queenslanders are permanently injured each year, and tragically 25 people die, as a result of traumatic workplace incidents.