Blue Mountains Council’s asbestos management exposes serious OHS and WHS issues

by Kylie Field

Dec 14, 2017

SafeWork NSW has launched a full investigation into asbestos management practices at Blue Mountains City Council.

According to the Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean the investigation came after SafeWork NSW was contacted about alleged asbestos mismanagement at several council-managed workplaces in the region.

“I’ve directed SafeWork inspectors to conduct a full and thorough investigation into these disturbing allegations,” Kean said.

“This is a very significant step but it’s absolutely warranted as the number of asbestos discoveries in the mountains, and council’s poor asbestos management, are alarming.”

To date SafeWork inspectors have issued Blue Mountains City Council with notices in relation to asbestos discovered in:

  • a council-owned building operating as a pre-school at Wentworth Falls
  • large waste piles at the council depots at Lawson and Katoomba
  • buildings at Springwood council depot
  • leaf litter at the rear of the yard at a council-owned building operating as a pre-school in Katoomba
  • Lawson Library ceiling
  • the ceilings and walls at Warrimoo Citizens’ Hall; and
  • the fireplace at Heatherbrae Cottage at Lawson.

Kean said SafeWork was inspecting around 20 locations nominated as potential asbestos hot spots.

“Wentworth Falls Pre-School has been closed by SafeWork until it’s safe for the children to return,” Kean said.

“At other sites, SafeWork has ordered council to take immediate measures including exclusion zones to ensure safety.

“SafeWork will get to the bottom of the way in which Blue Mountains City Council has handled this very important issue – we won’t cop workers or the community being exposed to danger,” Kean said.


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