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Auckland City Hospital staff moved after contractors find asbestos

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:16 PM

Auckland City Hospital staff moved after contractors find asbestos

MARIKA HILL

Last updated 05:00, May 8 2016

http://www.stuff.co....s-find-asbestos

Auckland City Hospital is working to remove asbestos as tougher health and safety rules come into effect.

The potentially carcinogenic substance was identified after an extensive survey of the hospital, including in the old building at Grafton.

It follows the recent discovery of asbestos at Dunedin and Timaru hospitals.

The Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) reassured patients there was no significant risk and hospital clinics and wards were not affected by the work.

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The asbestos was either isolated or enclosed, an ADHB spokesman said.

However, an anxious staff member said the hospital should do more to remove the asbestos.

"I'm not comfortable with it. I don't think it should be still around in 2016, especially in hospitals.

"We were told the risk was quite minimal, but you don't know if they are just saying that as a safeguard so people don't panic."

The employee, who asked not to be identified, said staff were being moved as asbestos removal contractors worked in the old building.


Tougher asbestos regulations came into force on April 4 as part of the new Health and Safety at Work Act.

This included a greater onus on building owners to locate asbestos and the potential for more intrusive testing before refurbishment or demolition work.

Health and safety consultants reported a surge in demand for asbestos surveys of commercial buildings ahead of the changes.

Asbestos was widely used in the building industry up until the 1980s.

It is harmless while contained, but construction work could spread carcinogenic dust.

Inhaled asbestos dust or fibres could cause lung cancer and other health problems.

The ADHB spokesman said extensive air monitoring had shown no reason for concern at Auckland City Hospital.

"Safety of patients and staff is our paramount responsibility."

The survey of the buildings allowed them to plan for asbestos removal as renovations took place in different parts of the hospital, he said.

Auckland Hospital previously cleaned up asbestos in 1988 and 2004 for specific building projects.

This included a $10 million project which contained the substance in the old building's maternity unit.

Other hospitals have also been undertaking clean-up work after surveys turned up asbestos.

Dunedin Hospital was forced to move patients and close its mortuary and postpone some ultrasound scans after asbestos was found in 2015.

Asbestos dust was also discovered in Timaru Hospital's tunnels, clinical services building's basement and administration block's basement on High St during an audit in 2015.

The South Canterbury District Health Board are spending $100,000 on evaluating their asbestos problem before upgrading the Timaru Hospital.

District health boards use their operational funding to pay for any asbestos removal and clean up.

What is asbestos?


Asbestos is New Zealand's number one killer in the workplace.

Approximately 170 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases, according to Worksafe NZ.

Asbestos was used widely in the building industry from the 1920s to the mid 1980s.

More than 80,000 public buildings were estimated to have used asbestos during construction.

Tougher rules around asbestos came into force on April 4.

- Sunday Star Times
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#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:17 PM

How about we have a name for the ADHB spokesman?

It is polite to refer to a person by their name, isn't it?

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