A worker exposed to Asbestos at Perth’s new children’s hospital says building giant John Holland has provided no medical help as the government announced an independent investigation into the scandal.
Workers were covered in white dust that was released after a roof panel was drilled into on Monday afternoon. The area was not isolated for 24 hours, with tests later confirming the dust was white Asbestos called chrysotile. It is not the most hazardous Asbestos but is banned in Australia and when inhaled can cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma or Asbestosis.
One of the workers, Matt, said he and other workers were angry that by Friday John Holland had still not organised for medical tests or counselling or told them whether their families should also be checked. He said he had driven home in his car on Monday covered in dust that could have spread to a child seat and had hugged his two-year-old daughter when he got home.
“we were told we needed to get x-rays and get on a register but nobody has … confirmed it and the boys were mostly angry because we thought we’d have people down there making sure we’re alright,” he told ABC radio. “We just go ahead and work with these materials assuming they are not dangerous because we assume we’re being protected by the powers above not to let them in the country in the first place.”
JH project director Lindsay Albonica said on Thursday that the safety of workers was the company’s first priority. JH has defended its role in the scandal, saying Chinese company Yuanda, which supplied the roof panels, had provided certificates stating the 150 roof panels did not contain Asbestos.
WA Building Commissioner Peter Gow announced on Friday that he would conduct an independent audit into the hospital project and Yuanda. It is the second time in a week that Yuanda has been caught providing products containing Asbestos in Australia,