VIC: BIR Criticised Yet Again for Asbestos in Primary School

A concerned parent who discovered asbestos in a Brighton primary school says it is a sign “shoddy work” on Building the Education Revolution scheme projects.

On March 2009, the parent sent a letter to WorkSafe after his three-year old daughter picked up an asbestos fragment at the school premises.

He sent the fragment for independent analysis, which revealed it to be asbestos.

“As I mentioned, I found one of the pieces on the steps of the concrete slab right outside the entrance to my son’s classroom. It looks like it has been handled by the way the edges have been rounded,” the parent’s letter to WorkSafe read.

“There has obviously been a breakdown of process here. As concerned parents, we would like you please to take action and help the principal to deal with the matter.

“It is intolerable that asbestos material of any sort be left lying around in a school playground where the kids play every day.”

He said that while the risks may be low because the asbestos was non-friable, it could still pose dangers.

“Fibres could be released and breathed in by children handling the material (as my daughter actually did) or crushing it by walking on it etc. In the process, children could get fibres on their clothing, and expose others as well.

“I (am) also now concerned about what may be in the ground and out of immediate eyesight either just below the surface or crushed into the soil.”

The letter resulted to the closure of the school for soil to be poured over the areas where asbestos were suspected to be found.

However, the parent said asbestos fragments could still be found weeks later.

WorkSafe Victoria spokesman Michael Birt confirmed the presence of asbestos in the school at Albion North. He said an initial clean-up and air monitoring had been performed last week, which will be followed up with a comprehensive clean-up.

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