Renovations at the New South Wales State Library in downtown Sydney, Australia have exposed hundreds of patrons to asbestos, notes an article in the The Advertiser newspaper.
Work safety authorities stopped renovations on the library earlier this week after members of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) alerted the organization to the asbestos find. One union official said the discovery of the asbestos has put countless lives at risk.
CFMEU NSW assistant secretary Brian Parker also believes that the health of many has been compromised due to attempts to cut corners on the job.
Mr. Parker said the asbestos was detected on Monday but the builder failed to get a licensed industrial hygienist to assess the contamination and determine safe ways to remove it. Workers and members of the public passing by the site had been exposed to the risk until WorkCover – the State’s workplace safety, injury management, and workers compensation system – shut down the site, he said.
“The lives of building workers and members of the community who access the library have been put at risk because the builder… breached basic health and safety laws,” Parker said.
A spokesman for the builder, Safin Corporation, was unavailable for comment.