Union holds “grave concerns” over asbestos discovery at UNSW.

Published: 8 Dec 2017

Workers at UNSW’s Biosciences building are angry that builder Multiplex has exposed them to potentially deadly friable asbestos. 

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) holds grave concerns for workers on the demolition project, as well as for students and staff at the university who may have also been exposed to the deadly fibres.

The CFMEU are demanding that builder Multiplex engage an independent hygienist to oversee new testing, training, and work practices on the project.

The CFMEU have also accused Multiplex of not having proper safety measures in place.

“No one is surprised that a building of the this age would contain asbestos, but what has been absolutely shocking is that despite this risk being completely foreseeable, management failed to put proper safety precautions in place to protect the health of the workforce,” CFMEU NSW secretary Brian Parker said.

“Multiplex have been demolishing this building for months. They’ve completely let down their workforce and the members of the public who walk through the top end of UNSW every day, the very least they can do is engage an independent specialist to determine the extent of the exposure, and the safest way forward from here.”

The discovery was made by chance, with workers surprised to learn that the discovery was actually made at the site where the waste from this project was being dumped and not by anyone responsible for maintaining a safe working environment at the site itself.

“All these workers want is a safe workplace,” Mr Parker said. “They shouldn’t be put at risk of inhaling this cancer-causing substance. Workers should be able to trust that a Builder like Multiplex has their interest front and centre when it comes to asbestos.

 “There is absolutely no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, which is why workers are understandably so angry that their health has been put at risk by the mismanagement of this project.”