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Australia Lack of warning over asbestos removal during NBN rollout sparks fear in Adelaide resident

01:21  14 december  2019
01:21  14 december  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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by asbestos during the rollout of the National Broadband Network , Telstra's CEO David Thodey has said that the telco had been managing the risk of asbestos Nationally, Telstra has 8 million cabling pits, though only about 60,000 pits involved with the NBN rollout are affected by asbestos .

South Adelaide Asbestos Removal have over 20 years experience testing for and removing asbestos from Adelaide homes and businesses. We have EPA and builders licenses and just as importantly we have the experience and commitment to deliver the safe prompt and efficient service

A yellow lid placed on top of an asbestos pit on a footpath in Adelaide.© ABC News: Helen Frost A yellow lid placed on top of an asbestos pit on a footpath in Adelaide.

An Adelaide resident has been left shocked after contractors for NBN Co started removing asbestos outside her home without warning, weeks after a similar incident in WA.

Lorraine Tyler didn't know what an asbestos pit was until she discovered contractors working on two right outside her front door last week.

She has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and already has compromised lungs.

Last Wednesday, a contractor knocked on her door and asked her to move her car so he could remove asbestos from outside her house.

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nbn is committed to completing the rollout in 2020. We expect to have more information about the availability and technology in your area soon. nbn ’s New Developments team are continuing to work with the developer to roll out the nbn ™ broadband access network at your location.

Adelaide , the NBN ( National Broadband network ) is being rolled out and we’re catching up to the However, much of the NBN rollout in Adelaide to date is still in the planning or construction stages The best way to check the availability of the network at your home or business is to head over to our

Ms Tyler said the telecommunications pits were left unsecured, prompting concerns over the deadly material.

"Not knowing what asbestos pits were and having lung cancer, I looked it up. I was concerned, very concerned," she said.

"I found out that the asbestos pits are Telstra asbestos pits and have been removed as part of the NBN rollout."

After researching the pits online, Ms Tyler found a Telstra phone number to contact.

The advice she received was to shut her door, seal the house, wear a mask and, if possible, leave the premises while the work was happening.

"I was alarmed because I don't know why I've got lung cancer and my lungs are compromised," she said.

"And I don't want anybody else suffering with compromised lungs.

"It's dreadful and yet this thing was happening in our street, right outside our front door as it turned out, and nobody knew because we hadn't had any notification."

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The nbn network rollout map is currently under review, pending the introduction of new government policy. The nbn co has recently reviewed its rollout information to align with the policy of the new government. This is an ongoing process and further information will be provided when available.

Asbestos encapsulation refers to the treatment of asbestos containing materials with sealants. These sealants then surround the asbestos fibres, thus preventing them from being released. Additionally, the encapsulant should be checked and inspected from time to time as it may deteriorate over time.

The incident in Adelaide comes after NBN Co apologised to a family in WA last month for not warning them about asbestos removal.

NBN apologises for 'causing concerns'

Telstra has now apologised to Ms Tyler, saying the information she was given over the phone was incorrect.

The correct advice was that a safety zone had been set up around pit remediation works where asbestos may be present — and all residents needed to do was stay outside the barrier.

After the ABC contacted NBN Co for comment, notices about asbestos removal appeared in letterboxes along Ms Tyler's street nearly a week after the work started.

A spokesperson for the NBN told the ABC that it expected and "contractually required" its delivery partners to meet safety practices and laws at all times.

"We have reviewed the issue raised by Ms Tyler and have confirmed with our delivery partner all works carried out are compliant and meet our safety practices," the spokesperson said.

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LABOR'S embattled National Broadband Network is assessing whether its asbestos troubles The moves come after work was halted on the NBN rollout in Western Sydney last week following the While dust covered several homes during a subcontractor's remediation work on old Telstra cable

Poor asbestos handling during National Broadband Network ( NBN ) work by Telstra contractors have seen work shut down in Penrith, Western Sydney, while the contractors in question have been Such pits must be handled with great care by contractors while working to roll NBN fibre out to these areas.

"We do however apologise for any concern this matter may have caused but want to reassure residents the telecommunications pits are safe."

Ms Tyler said she also raised the issue of only seeing one worker in full protective gear.

NBN Co advised that during different stages of the pit upgrades, only the worker in the pit needed to wear a mask and full personal protective equipment.

Asbestos pits left 'very insecure'

When Ms Taylor returned home, she noticed pieces of yellow plastic "casually thrown over the top" of the pits that had been left unsealed.

After tapping the plastic with her foot and discovering it wasn't attached at all, she called Federal Labor MP Steve Georganas.

"If people are in and around them, or kids could come along and take the lid off, it's very insecure," Mr Georganas told the ABC.

"SafeWork SA told us they've been contacted many times, not just about this specific location but it's a regular occurrence around the metropolitan area and other areas where work is being done in telecommunications pits."

He said local residents had a right to be scared when it was happening in their street.

"We've heard of the illnesses that asbestos causes, we've heard that one tiny little speck lodged in your lung can kill you, they've got every right to be concerned and they've got every right to be angry as well," he said.

SafeWork SA confirmed it is making enquiries into the removal of the asbestos pits but could not comment further.

While NBN rollout work in Tasmania and the Northern Territory is already complete, work is continuing in most states.

The company said it is on track to meet its national deadline of June next year.

Have you or any of your family been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease after working in a telecommunications asbestos pit? If so, contact frost.helen@abc.net.au

Canberra squares up to 5G safety concerns as pace of rollout picks up .
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