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August 21, 2018

ACT Government bans builders from removing asbestos

ACT Government bans builders from removing asbestos

ACT News

Date

The ACT Government has moved to close a loophole that has allowed builders to remove up to 10-square-metres of bonded asbestos from homes, a rule the Government says has been widely misunderstood and abused.

From January 1, any asbestos removal, including bonded asbestos sheeting, must be done by licensed asbestos removalists, who will now come under the control of Worksafe.

Builders were never allowed under the law to remove even 10-square-metres without asbestos training, but Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said the training requirement was the most widely flouted.

“The 10-square-metre rule is actually significantly misunderstood. Tradesmen think it means they can remove up to 10-square-metres of asbestos without controls, that’s not true,” he said.

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ACT Government bans builders from removing asbestos

Asbestos in classrooms disrupts parents' plans for their children

Huntington Beach parent Lily Coffin thought her young son would complete his education in the Ocean View School District.

Ethan, a second-grader, was happy learning alongside his friends at Hope View Elementary School, and Coffin was active in the Parent Teacher Organization.

But last week, Coffiin and other Ocean View parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos in their classrooms while the district worked to modernize several school sites.

“There’s no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore,” she said of her decision to move Ethan to Seacliff Elementary in the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

Over the last several days, about 100 families have flooded the offices of Seacliff and Agnes L. Smith elementary schools to request an interdistrict transfer, Seacliff Principal Monique Huibregtse said Friday.

Hope View and two other Ocean View elementary schools — Lake View and Oak View — were closed last week while being tested for asbestos.

Ocean View officials announced that 300 students from Lake View Elementary will temporarily attend classes at the district’s Westmont and Harbour View schools while the district works to remove asbestos that is present above ceiling tiles at the school. The process could take up to 10 weeks, officials said.

Supt. Gustavo Balderas said Friday that Hope View and Oak View also will remain closed until further notice.

“Recently we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information,” Balderas said.

In the meantime, he said, the officials are working to identify schools inside and outside the Ocean View district to take the nearly 1,300 displaced students from Hope View and Oak View.

Test results at Lake View showed asbestos in two classrooms.

“It was a trace amount … and we are taking the necessary steps to get that situation under control,” according to a district statement Thursday night.

At Hope View, a sample taken in one classroom contained a single asbestos fiber collected under a tile that appeared to have been drilled into to run television wires, said Cary Ruben, a certified industrial hygienist.

Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools, where construction recently took place as part of the modernization effort.

The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer. The district, along with Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not provide an estimate Friday afternoon of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

Large numbers of students leaving Ocean View could mean financial trouble for the district. Like many school districts, Ocean View receives funding from the state based on student attendance.

The district is losing at least $68,000 a day in state funding because students can’t attend classes.

That’s just the beginning of financial worries for the district. Factoring in legal costs, changes to transportation and asbestos testing and abatement, the district could spend millions out of its general fund, Ellis said.

The district could end up asking the state to help with costs, officials said.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. Fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though contact with asbestos that hasn’t been disturbed isn’t harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn’t detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren’t notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Asbestos in classrooms disrupts parents' plans for their children

Schools closed, parents livid after cancer-causing asbestos found

Three Huntington Beach schools will be closed for the rest of the week after recent tests for asbestos showed traces of the cancer-causing fiber on one of the campuses, officials announced.

Hope View, Lake View and Oak View schools will be closed through at least Friday after an expert told concerned parents and Ocean View School District officials at a public meeting late Tuesday that an asbestos fiber was found at Hope View.

“I believe that that fiber was released from the attic space during maintenance or installation activities above the ceiling,” said Cary Rubin, an asbestos expert who has been testing district schools since a modernization project was launched this summer.

The three closed schools all tested positive for asbestos during inspections in August, according to reports posted on the district website. Tests in September were negative. But a third round of inspections this past weekend revealed a fiber at Hope View.

Dozens of parents who gathered for the meeting Tuesday night expressed anger with school district officials over the handling of the issue.

“For the rest of my life, every time this little girl coughs, every time she gets a cold, ‘Is it now? Is this it?’ Shame on all of you,” parent Carol Bader told the school board.

Some even called for the assistant superintendent who oversaw the district’s modernization projects to resign.

“You put our kids in danger, we’re going to live in terror for the next 15 to 20 years,” parent Brett Bouchet said.

Officials have pledged to test all classrooms at Huntington Beach’s 11 schools after concerns were raised that construction work may have exposed students to the dangerous material.

Meanwhile, Ocean View School District has been investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos from facilities after the school year began in September, possibly putting students in contact with dust.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was used in building products and insulation materials. Inhaling high levels of asbestos fibers — which can be released into the air during construction and later during removal as well — can increase the risk of lung disease, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Parents became aware of the asbestos issue last month when district trustee John Briscoe filed a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health after learning the material was being removed from several district schools during a modernization effort that began in July.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Schools closed, parents livid after cancer-causing asbestos found

Possible asbestos exposure investigated at Huntington Beach schools

Officials have pledged to test all school classrooms in Huntington Beach for asbestos after concerns were raised that construction work may have exposed students on three campuses to the dangerous material.

Two Huntington Beach elementary school campuses remained closed Tuesday for the testing, which officials said they plan to carry out at all 11 schools, mostly on the weekends.

The Ocean View School District has been investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos from facilities after the school year began in September, possibly putting students at three elementary school campuses — Hope View, Oak View and Lake View — in contact with dust.

Parents were notified last week that testing would take place over the weekend and that classes would be canceled Monday and Tuesday, the Huntington Beach Independent reported.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was used in building products and insulation materials. Inhaling high levels of asbestos fibers — which can be released into the air during construction — can increase the risk of lung disease, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Parents became aware of the asbestos issue last month when district trustee John Briscoe filed a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health after learning the material was being removed from several district schools during a modernization effort that began in July.

Cal/OSHA began its own investigation last week, officials said.

“In our abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily close as we wait for the additional test results to be completed and that they have confirmed that no asbestos is present and that there is no risk,” Hope View Principal Carrie Haskin wrote in a letter to parents.

No other schools are scheduled to be closed for testing.

Though the district maintains that the schools are safe for students, more than 100 people, mostly parents and teachers, attended a community meeting last week to voice their concerns.

“I have been assured by the hired professional architects, contractors, abatement contractors, construction management and environmental testing companies that the schools are safe,” Supt. Gustavo Balderas wrote in a letter to the community. “I have been provided closure reports showing no airborne asbestos after [it] was abated.”

The district is set to host a special board meeting at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at the Marine View Middle School gym, 5682 Tilburg Drive, to discuss the school closures.

Hannah Fry writes for Times Community News.

Hannah Fry can be reached at hannah.fry@latimes.com or on Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Possible asbestos exposure investigated at Huntington Beach schools

Decontamination ordered after botched asbestos job in Winnipeg home

The province has ordered two local companies to decontaminate a house after a botched asbestos-removal job forced a family from their Winnipeg home.

A Winnipeg family hired Sarte Heating and Cooling to replace the old boiler system in her Point Douglas home but was told the company couldn’t do the old work until the old boiler, which was covered in asbestos, was taken out.

So Sarte arranged for Workman Industries to do asbestos remediation in the home, but when workers showed up, they weren’t wearing safety gear and were carting open asbestos through the home.

“There was open bags of asbestos. There was an air filtration machine running but with the hose running out to nowhere basically,” said Jon Cameron, who lives in the home, “The window was not open, so it was more like for show.”

Workplace Safety and Health had issued a stop-work order against Workman Industries and Sarte Heating and Cooling after the Cameron family filed a complaint.

Now, Workplace Safety and Health has gone further.

Chief Occupational Medical Officer Richard Rusk said Workman Industries must decontaminate the house.

“They claim to be able to do that. They’ve also demonstrated that they have not done it correctly, so we would inspect to make sure the abatement is done correctly,” said Rusk.

The province’s stop-work order dated Aug. 12 cites five violations, ranging from releasing asbestos particles into the air, failing to give notice of an asbestos removal project and failing to train and equip employees handling the asbestos.

Such violations can run a fine of $2,500.

Rusk said anyone who lives in an older house should be aware of the risks.

“In the older houses, houses older than 1990, definitely older than 1980, most likely have a fair amount of asbestos in them,” said Rusk. “That’s a lot of houses in Winnipeg, and people need to be aware that if you’re going in to do renovations or into the ceiling or changing boilers and heating pipes, the likelihood of that being contained by asbestos is high.”

Rusk said homeowners put themselves at risk if the work isn’t carried out properly.

Right now, the home isn’t fit for the Cameron family to live in, and they’ve been forced out until the work can be completed.

Rusk said because the department’s mandate is to look after workers, they can’t help them.

Instead, Rusk said, “The family unfortunately has to go to their lawyers or talk to consumer affairs.”

He said it’s unfortunate, but with work like this, “in some ways, it’s buyer beware.”

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Decontamination ordered after botched asbestos job in Winnipeg home

Winnipeg family left homeless after botched asbestos job

A Winnipeg family is homeless after a botched asbestos remediation in their Point Douglas home. 

The company that did the remediation, Workman Industries, has been issued a cease and desist order to stop using the logo of a national certification body on its website. 

“There was open bags of asbestos. There was an air filtration machine running but with the hose running out to nowhere basically,” said Jon Cameron, the homeowners’ son.  “The window was not open, so it was more like for show.”

The Point Douglas home on Austin Street has been owned by Cameron’s parents, Rafaelita and Victor Cameron, for 37 years.  They live there along with their daughter, Cherielyn Yabas, her husband and their one month old daughter, Saffiya. 

“[I’m] scared for all of us, especially for her,” said Cerielyn, looking down at her infant daughter. “She’s so young.”

Rafaelita Cameron had hired Sarte Heating and Cooling to replace the old boiler system with a new high efficiency furnace, but the company could not do the installation until the old boiler, which was covered in asbestos, was removed. 

So Sarte arranged for Workman Industries to go to the Point Douglas home on Aug. 7 to do the remediation. 

Undisturbed asbestos-containing materials generally don’t pose a health risk, according to Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s only when the asbestos is disturbed, and the dust is emitted into the air that it poses a risk to human health, the agencies say.  In significant quantities, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis and lung cancer.

“I never talked to [Workman] before [the work started],” said Rafaelita Cameron.

Family notices ‘red flags’

When the crew arrived, Rafaelita and her daughter noticed red flags. 

They said the workers were not wearing protective equipment or masks.

Rafaelita, Yabas and her one-month-old daughter, Saffiya, were all in and out of the home as they were not instructed to stay away. 

They eventually realized there were no barriers created to separate the basement job site from the remainder of the home.  Rafaelita said she confronted one of the workers.

“I said ‘Where’s the barrier? How come there’s no barrier?” she said. 

That’s when she contacted her son, Jon Cameron, to step in. 

Cameron video-taped the company as they removed the old asbestos covered boiler in pieces without wrapping any of it in plastic. 

“Pretty much just bare-handing these materials from the basement.  I didn’t notice any masks,” said Jon Cameron. “These guys were wearing T-shirts and shorts and jeans. There was nothing to indicate they were taking precautions in handling asbestos.”

Jon Cameron contacted the province. 

Workplace Safety and Health issues stop-work order

The next morning, Workplace Safety and Health issued stop-work orders against Workman Industries and Sarte Heating and Cooling for a botched asbestos remediation. 

The orders says “Asbestos containing material is being released into the atmosphere at this project site,” and measures used to control asbestos were not used. 

The family said the agency photographed open bags of asbestos still in the basement and told them their home and its contents are contaminated, so they should not be there.

“It was very shocking,” said Jon Cameron, “I was scared and was very angry because this is my family, and they mean everything to me.  There’s no reason for endangering people’s lives.”

CBC News contacted Sarte Heating and Cooling. 

The owner, Lito Mendoza, said his heart goes out to the family, but Workman Industries should be responsible for the clean-up. 

When asked why he arranged for Workman Industries to do the work, he said he has only had one previous job with Workman and the air quality tests done after the fact came back with good results. 

Mendoza said his company has not taken a deposit from the homeowners at this time and said he has offered to pay $500.00 towards their accommodations while they are displaced. 

Construction safety association issues cease and desist order

CBC News tried to contact Workman Industries without success. 

The address listed on its web page is the location where the owner picks up his mail. 

Workman’s website shows a Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program logo, certification which is typically obtained through the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba. 

Typically, the logo means a company has a safety and health program that meets national standards. 

However, when CBC News contacted the association, it said Workman Industries has never been certified by them. 

The association sent Workman Industries a cease and desist letter yesterday, ordering them to stop improperly using the logo. 

The association said the company did attend some classes in 2010 but has never completed the program. 

Family wants home back

Meanwhile, Cherielyn Yabas and her family just want their home and their lives back. 

“We have nothing.  Everything’s in that house,” said Yabas, “It’s our home.  We just want to go home.”

Jon Cameron said he wants a certified company to do the work. 

“It needs to be cleaned.  It needs to be approved by a trustworthy company,” Cameron said.

“My parents need their home back. My sister and brother-in-law and their one-month-old baby need their home back,” he said. “It’s a horrible feeling to be displaced.  It’s a horrible feeling to know your family is without a home and because of no fault of their own — simply because they put their trust in so-called professionals that this would be done properly.”

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Winnipeg family left homeless after botched asbestos job

Naval Service begins fleet-wide survey for asbestos

The Naval Service has begun a fleet-wide survey for asbestos after the potentially lethal substance was discovered in four of its ships.

The Department of Defence also confirmed it is still carrying out work on two ships which have spent months in dry dock since asbestos was found.

Work to clean out asbestos from the LÉ Ciara and LÉ Orla began on May 28. A Department of Defence spokeswoman said that the operation, which is being conducted along Health and Safety Authority guidelines, is ongoing.

She said: “There is as of yet no confirmed date for completion of works. The Naval Service and the specialist contractor are working closely together to complete works safely and quickly.”

The department has not given any cost for the work, but sources in PDForra, which represents enlisted men in the Naval Service, said it was “likely to be very expensive”.

The LÉ Aoife was found to have asbestos in a gasket in an engine. The substance was also detected in LÉ Eithne’s forward pump room. However, they have not been dry-docked like the other two vessels which appear to have far more significant asbestos issues.

The department said the outcome of the fleet-wide screening would determine what course of action would be needed to address any issues which might arise.

In the 1980s, asbestos was widely used in the ship- building industry, especially in engine rooms to insulate pipes and boilers. At the time, it was considered the best and most cost-effective insulating material and was also fire-resistant.

In 2000, the Naval Service had commissioned consultants to examine its ships for the substance and it had reported a clean bill of health. The Service was shocked to discover that a substance which had been ground up on board one of the vessels during routine maintenance turned out to be asbestos.

It becomes dangerous if broken up, as dust can get into people’s lungs and cause serious illness or death. It can take up to 40 years for symptoms to manifest.

The Naval Service has since introduced protocols to identify and deal with any asbestos found on vessels.

A total of 116 Naval Service personnel and civilian workers are understood to have come in contact with asbestos on board the ships or at the Naval Service’s headquarters on Haulbowline Island, Cobh.

“All Naval Service personnel have been medically screened. Medical screening has also been undertaken for civilian employees and is nearing completion with seven civilian staff remaining to be seen,” the spokes-woman added.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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Naval Service begins fleet-wide survey for asbestos

Asbestos fibres from fire will have minimal risk to residents

Topics:

asbestos,

boomerang,

fire,

mackay,

store

Asbestos fibres from fire will have minimal risk to residents

Secondhand store on Harbour Rd is engulfed by flames.
Secondhand store on Harbour Rd is engulfed by flames. Contributed

ASBESTOS fibres measured around the site of the Boomerang Second Hand store destroyed by fire indicate an acceptable level with minimal risk, according to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Reassuring North Mackay residents and business operators near Harbour Road that the asbestos contamination risk was minimal, a WHSQ spokesman said air quality was being monitored and showed the concentration of asbestos fibres to be less than 0.01 fibres/ml.

“This is an acceptable level and poses minimal risk to residents and nearby businesses from inhaling airborne asbestos fibres,” he said.

“Air monitoring will continue until the roof sheeting has been removed.

“The area around Vines Creek is free from asbestos debris; therefore the creek is unlikely to be contaminated from the building damage.”

The WHSQ spokesman said the building owner was responsible for the management of onsite asbestos and ensuring site safety, and ensured appropriate action has taken place to minimise the risk to anyone working on the site, residents and nearby businesses.

He said the workplace had a register that listed the location of asbestos in the building, including the roof.

Despite government assurances, a Mackay asbestos expert claims asbestos fibre contamination from the damaged warehouse is ongoing; the fibres blowing off the untreated roof remnants.

Brought in by the business owner, Paul Bainbridge, the head of Asbestos Removal Technology Jayson Maskell-Drew said code of practice safety procedures, such as dampening down the asbestos roof, were not being followed.

“The roof should be wetted down and (fibres) contained, but it is not. They (fibres) are blowing around in the wind,” Mr Maskell-Drew said.

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Asbestos fibres from fire will have minimal risk to residents

Asbestos removal firm fined £109,000

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Asbestos removal firm fined £109,000

Axing of asbestos watchdog shocks head

Axing of asbestos watchdog shocks head

NationalPolitical News

Date

Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann

Said the agencies facing the axe are considered by the Coalition to be “window dressing”: Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

A battle is looming over the fate of the federal government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, which was earmarked for axing in the budget papers.

National asbestos support groups, lawyers and unions say the public will suffer continued deadly exposure if the agency is abolished.

An estimated 40,000 people are expected to die in a third wave of asbestos-related disease following contact with the carcinogen in their homes and workplaces.

The national commission of audit recommended this month that the only federal body addressing asbestos management and safety be abolished as a cost-saving measure.

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Axing of asbestos watchdog shocks head