The Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union has called for mandatory national training on asbestos safety for all tradespeople after a report from Curtin University found that three out of four tradespeople cannot identify asbestos in the workplace.
“Aussie tradies are at great risk from exposure to asbestos that remains in buildings in Australia, as well as from illegal imports,” CFMEU National Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan, said adding that asbestos has been banned for some time in Australia, but it’s still being imported illegally.
Recently, a building site at the Sunshine Coast Plaza project in Queensland, soil-containing asbestos was exposed during excavation works, and untrained workers were unaware of its presence. There were however, some workers on site had been trained in identifying asbestos so the work was halted.
“The fact that this incident occurred on a $400 million site shows that the problem is widespread. The study from Curtin University highlights a disturbing lack of awareness about asbestos among tradespeople,” said Noonan.
“Asbestos is deadly. Any exposure to asbestos fibres could cause mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases and it’s time for State and Federal Governments and the sector to tackle the lack of regulation in the building industry, which is putting lives at risk.
“We need national, mandatory training for all apprentices to make them aware of the dangers and safe handling of asbestos. The CFMEU stands ready to work with the industry and all governments to make this happen.”
Image sourced from Flickr cc: GoneA