Asbestos Scare at Hazelwood Prompts Change

Maintenance workers have been able to return to their jobs after an asbestos scare at Hazelwood Power Station. According to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), as many as 12 workers may have been exposed to asbestos in October.

A spokesperson from Hazelwood clarified that the gaskets where the asbestos exposure occurred had been sealed shut immediately. A sample revealed that there had been a small amount of white asbestos on the material but no airborne asbestos.

The union did not ask for further independent sampling. The AMWU requested changes to the asbestos procedure for better contractor safety standards, according to organiser Steve Dodd.

The changes involve more communications with the union and occupation health and safety representations. The extra communication would ensure that workspaces were cleaner, as all test documentation had to be supplied to the union. An inspection of the site would need to be conducted by the union and health and safety representatives.

The day after the workers’ return on Thursday, asbestos was found in the boiler area and on the turbine floor. A quarantine was put in place, along with monitoring procedures, and workers returned to work on Friday evening.

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