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January 16, 2018

Asbestos drama in the CBD

EXPERTS were called in this week to undertake “management work” after a form of friable asbestos was identified in the basement of Ray Walsh House.

SAFETY FIRST: Essential Energy contractors carry out work on Ray Walsh House in Tamworth after asbestos was discovered in a basement area. Photo: Gareth Gardner 061114GGA01

SAFETY FIRST: Essential Energy contractors carry out work on Ray Walsh House in Tamworth after asbestos was discovered in a basement area. Photo: Gareth Gardner 061114GGA01

An exclusion zone was set up in a car park beside the council chambers on Thursday morning as a company engaged by Essential Energy carried out the work.

The asbestos is contained in vermiculate covering steel beams in an electrical substation that Essential Energy leases from Tamworth Regional Council. The substation contains electrical transformers that allow power to be supplied to the council chambers and parts of the central business district.

Council’s general manager Paul Bennett said the section of the building housing the substation cannot be accessed by either staff or the public.

“Every precaution has been taken to minimise any risk to council staff at Ray Walsh House,” he said.

“At around noon (on Thursday), we were advised that air testing of two sections of the building adjoining the substation had been completed and revealed there was no health risk.

“My understanding is that testing and other work is still in progress in the substation itself.”

Essential Energy’s regional manager Ben Williams said the asbestos had been discovered during a major network upgrade for the CBD.

He said WorkCover had been notified and a wet decontamination unit and air-monitoring equipment had been used during the operation.

“Essential Energy has engaged a suitable qualified contractor to undertake the work to ensure the safety of the public and our employees,” he said.

“Essential Energy provides training and has strict safety practices in place, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment, to protect employees from the risk of asbestos-related health issues.”

According to the Bernie Banton Foundation, friable – or easily crumbled – asbestos is “more hazardous” to human health than non-friable asbestos.

Originally posted here: 

Asbestos drama in the CBD