Residents concerned about asbestos demolition job

AUSTRALIA’S largest rail freight operator Aurizon has moved to allay community concerns over an asbestos demolition project underway at its Rockhampton Workshops.

But some local residents are not convinced despite Aurizon saying all relevant regulations are being met.

Residents of South St spoke to The Morning Bulletin about their worries after building removal works started at the site, at the corner of South and Denison streets, on May 18.

They did not wish to be identified for fear of reprisals.

One South St resident said when similar asbestos works were carried out on other Aurizon buildings in the street a few years ago, he believed there were more safety controls in place.

“I’m concerned with how the asbestos is being contained this time,” he said.

“Last time we saw this type of work being done, there was black plastic put up on all fencing, air monitoring was done, and the workers doing the job had protective measures.

“This time we can’t see any of that happening.”

Another South St resident said she was worried about how close the public could get to the demolition site.

“You can get quite close to the job, which I thought would be barricaded right out,” she said.

“And I’m concerned for the people who live really close to it (site) with their water consumption in their tanks, and generally concerned about what’s in the air for anybody living nearby.”

Busby House Removals Demolition & Asbestos has been contracted by Aurizon to do the job.

When contacted by The Morning Bulletin, Busby said Aurizon would respond to the concerns raised by residents.

An Aurizon spokesman said the company was undertaking works to remove a shed on the site as a proactive measure to remove potential asbestos hazards and to improve visual amenity.

“The asbestos removal works are being undertaken in accordance with all relevant regulations and building ­standards, and Aurizon has also engaged an independent occupational hygienist during the works,” he said.

“A letterbox drop was completed to nearby residences and businesses prior to works commencing.”

The South St residents said given how close they lived to the demolition site, they would have liked notification about these works, but had received nothing.

The Morning Bulletin obtained copies of correspondence from Aurizon and Busby which was received by residents in Denison St.

In Aurizon’s letter to residents, it said the works would proceed for “approximately seven weeks, weather permitting.”

“You will notice activities associated with the removal of asbestos,” Aurizon said.

“Aurizon has taken all the required measures to ensure that the asbestos is safely removed from site and will be monitoring this closely.

“We are mindful that the demolition activities may cause some inconvenience along the street and have ensured that our contractor and their workers minimise these as much as possible.

“For you own safety, please be extra vigilant when moving past this work site.”

In Busby’s letter to residents, it informed it would be removing the asbestos roof and side wall cladding from the AC Shed in the Aurizon Depot.

“A hygienist will be conducting air monitoring on site daily for the duration of the works,” Busby said.

“As per regulations WPHS (Workplace Health and ­Safety) Qld have been notified and will conduct inspections on site.

“A notice board will be attached close to the front gate (Gate 8) which will have the daily air monitoring results posted.”

Article originally appeared in the Morning Bulletin.

Posted in News

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