Asbestos scare closes Blacktown Hospital upgrade

Date: May 16, 2014

Blacktown Hospital’s $320 million upgrade is on hold after asbestos was found on the site.

Although there was no risk to the patients inside the hospital, more than 100 workers and members of the public outside the hospital could have been exposed to the harmful material.

CFMEU spokesman Rebel Hanlon told the Daily Telegraph that the site had been shut down “indefinitely” until all the asbestos was removed from the site.

According to reports, contractors were hired to remove the contaminated material in the building six months ago before the project was handed over to another company.

Since then, work had stopped on the asbestos until it was found in soil near the main entrance to the hospital. It is reportedly close to a public carpark and a childcare centre, so the public risk is very high.

Mr Hanlon described the potential exposure for the 130 workers at Blacktown Hospital as “quite significant”.

“Workers who have put their hard hats on contaminated soil or to have rubbed (the soil) on his work clothes and brought it home – there’s a potential of exposure for (their families) as well,” he said.

“We’re not trying to scare people but we have a duty to notify people.”

NSW Health officials have been contacted and they would take over the site under the asbestos had been completely cleared away.

A spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph that the risk to the public was limited though.

“There is no impact on the operations of the existing Blacktown Hospital or the childcare centre located adjacent to the construction site,” she said.

“Health Infrastructure has been advised the contractor has required certification to use the recycled material on site.”

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, more than 500 Australians die each year from asbestosis or Mesothelioma. With many buildings around the country contaminated, this number is sure to rise.

If you believe the building you are in is filed with asbestos, there are some important tips to remember.

  • Don’t touch the contaminated material
  • Don’t remove any items in the area
  • Limit access to the area
  • Contact an expert to to inspect/remove it

Asbestos compensation claims in NSW

Under New South Wales law, you are entitled to claim compensation on many dust-related conditions including asbestos and Mesothelioma. The claim can be made irrelevant of the time of exposure. It could be yesterday or 30 years ago.

For more information, get in touch with the compensation lawyers at Gerard Malouf Partners today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.