7 March 2013

Asbestos scare from level 8 of Canberra Hospital

| johnboy
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The Health Directorate have posted a remarkable warning:

ACT Health is today advising staff, patients and visitors who visited levels 7 and 9 of the main tower block at Canberra Hospital yesterday about the detection of airborne fibres following recent air monitoring.

It is important to note that the steps that the hospital is taking are precautionary. They are a result of formal monitoring of refurbishment work, taking place on level 8 of the hospital, under widely-recognised arrangements to ensure health and safety on a work site.

In accordance with Safe Work Australia’s Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos, the refurbishment work has been paused. The code is recognised as the standard that is applied in a situation like this.

The site remains safely contained while investigations take place to determine if the unknown fibres are mineral, organic, or asbestos.

ACT Health Public Health physician, Dr Charles Guest, said: “The air monitoring is in place as part of standard safety measures associated with refurbishment works taking place on Level 8.”

“The work on Level 8 includes the removal of old vinyl adhesive known to contain bonded asbestos fibres.

“Removal of the old vinyl adhesive is being undertaken by a fully certified and experienced asbestos remover in accordance with laws and all relevant safety procedures, codes of practice and guidelines.

“We consider risk of asbestos exposure to be remote. However, air monitoring on Tuesday at Canberra Hospital detected unidentified fibres on level 7 and 9 of the main tower block (Building 1).

UPDATE 07/03/13 15:36: We’ve been updated that the fibres detected were linen.

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All clear because the fibres weren’t asbestos?

I’ve been visiting the hospital regularly over the past two years while various renovations were underway and there’s always been a very strong smell of dust even though they put up plastic sheets – they were refurbishing the shower rooms by grinding down floors as water from the showers leaks out into corridors.

johnboy said :

All clear!

What a relief although asbestos or linen pales into insignificance compared to the super bugs that could be lurking.

Funny, I don’t remember getting any warning about this and I work at the hospital.

Saw it in the Canberra Times just a few minutes ago. Fortunately I don’t work on those levels very often…

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