EXCLUSION ZONE: 50 Plaza workers exposed to toxic material

Sunshine Plaza’s redevelopment works Courtesy: Sunshine Coast Bulletein

MORE than 50 construction workers have filled out asbestos exposure forms in response to a toxic find at the Lendlease Sunshine Plaza redevelopment site.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union occupational health and safety co-ordinator Andrew Ramsay said asbestos was reported by concrete form workers near an embankment at the western car park site on Wednesday morning.

Mr Ramsay said it appeared the roofing sheets had been dumped and buried years ago.

“I took a sample myself, got it analysed at Greenslopes late yesterday afternoon (and) it come back positive for white and brown asbestos which is normal with that sort of roofing,” Mr Ramsay said.

He said there had been a full site meeting with management and all workers on Thursday morning.

“The (construction) hygienist has recommended taking a 300mm cut out of the bank where the asbestos was found.

“What we have asked for is that be done well and truly out of hours- not while the workers are here and not while the school’s on board.

“If it is a windy day, who knows where those fibres are going to go?”

He said there were genuine concerns workers had been exposed to the deadly fibres.

“All workers on the job have now filled out exposure forms.”

Mr Ramsay said they would now go on an exposure registry through the Asbestos Disease Support Society.

He had 51 forms filled out on Thursday morning and said he was seeking other workers who might have been exposed earlier.

He was very critical of the on-site earthmoving company Shadforths Civil Constractors.

“You don’t just find one little clump of it (asbestos).

“It is all what they call legacy asbestos.

“It has been dumped there at some stage in the past.

“If you walk around there are still bricks and bits of stuff everywhere, which to me, looks like someone has dumped a heap of building material there at some stage.”

He said they needed to be keeping an eye on what was being dug out.

“Normally, if you are digging out earth like that, sometimes it is hard to see the fragments but you would have some idea because I don’t think it would just be one section because there’s bricks and stuff… everywhere in the embankment.”

A Lendlease spokeswoman confirmed at midday on Thursday that small fragments of contaminated material were found on Wednesday at redevelopment areas at Sunshine Plaza.

“The materials are being removed by a specialist contractor in accordance with workplace health and safety regulations,” the spokeswoman said.

“Safety is our number one priority and exclusion zones remain in place to protect workers and the local community.

“The site remains open for work.”

Shadforths Civil Constractors has been contacted for comment. Yesterday the company declined to provide comment.

Source: https://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/exclusion-zone-more-than-50-plaza-workers-exposed-/3221244/