The ETU has been made aware that asbestos has been detected during the $200 million renovation of the Sydney Opera House exposing electricians working on Troffers, Risers and Penetrations. The ETU takes the threat of asbestos seriously and as such the ETU is instructing members not to undertake work on Troffers, Risers and Penetrations at the Sydney Opera House until further notice.
Airborne/friable asbestos presents a significant safety threat and the ETU is taking all necessary steps in order to protect members at this time. If you are requested to work in these areas you should advise your supervisor that you have safety concerns and immediately contact Antony Stegic at the union on 0414 877 943.
Builder Lang O'Rourke and Electrical contractor Downer were made aware of the possible presence of asbestos last Monday at which time the employer undertook testing. Results delivered on Wednesday confirmed the presence of asbestos however Lang O'Rourke and Downer did not report this safety incident to SafeWork NSW as a notifiable incident.
The ETU was notified on Friday and has since discovered that ALMOST ALL OF DOWNER’S ELECTRICIANS WORKING ON THE OPERA HOUSE RENOVATION HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED IN ASBESTOS AWARENESS AND WORKING WITH ASBESTOS PROCEDURES.
As such the ETU advises all members working on this site that NO FURTHER WORK SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN ON TROFFERS, RISERS AND PENETRATIONS DUE TO THE POSSIBLE PRESENCE OF ASBESTOS IN THESE AREAS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
The ETU is demanding that new risk assessments be undertaken and necessary training be provided to all employees’ covering asbestos awareness and safe work methods in addition to full personal protective equipment being supplied and used in these areas.
Additionally PCB’s (Polychlorinated biphenyl) have also been found onsite in lighting ballast – PCB’s are a known cancer causing agent – ONLY ETU MEMBERS THAT HAVE BEEN TRAINED IN THE SAFE HANDLING OF PCB’S USING SAFE WORK METHODS AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT SHOULD UNDERTAKE THIS WORK.
We will provide a further update to members once the situation has been adequately dealt with by management.
Stewart Edward & Antony Stegic - ETU Organisers