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Building giant John Holland defends actions after workers exposed to asbestos

Area not isolated for 24 hours after Perth children’s hospital workers covered in chrysotile while drilling into a roof panel

Building giant John Holland has defended the steps it has taken to help workers who were exposed to asbestos at Perth’s new children’s hospital.

Workers were covered in a white substance after drilling into a roof panel on Monday afternoon.

The area was not isolated for 24 hours, with tests later confirming the dust was white asbestos called chrysotile.

“Workers were immediately offered the opportunity to have health tests and to have clothing and other items – including vehicles – tested,” the company said.

It says ongoing briefings by their industrial hygienist were provided to the workforce and information sessions were held.

One of the workers, Matt, said he had driven home in his car on Monday covered in dust that could have spread to a child seat and had hugged his two-year-old daughter when he got home.

He said workers were angry that by Friday John Holland had still not organised for medical tests or counselling or told them whether their families should also be checked.

“We were told we needed to get X-rays and get on a register but nobody has … confirmed it and the boys were mostly angry because we thought we’d have people down there making sure we’re all right,” he told ABC radio on Friday.

John Holland said follow-up “one-on-one meetings with each person working within the contaminated area are now being conducted”.

It confirmed an asbestos exposure register had been established.

Four workers asked for their vehicles to be tested but no asbestos was found, John Holland said.

John Holland also reiterated that the panels used in the building were supplied by Chinese company Yuanda. It said Yuanda had provided certificates stating the 150 roof panels did not contain asbestos.

Western Australia’s building commissioner, Peter Gow, announced on Friday that he would conduct an independent audit into the hospital project and Yuanda.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/17/building-giant-john-holland-defends-actions-after-workers-exposed-to-asbestos