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QUESTION: Would you like me to ask WorkCover to inspect the site? - 08 Mar 2007 NSW, Australia

To whom it may concern

I have a concern about the construction site that i am working on at the moment it is located at Spears point in Newcastle the street address is 143 main road across the road from lake Macquarie council it is a project that involves part of an existing building to be demolished and new sections to be built on to the existing structure it is a considerably large building about the size of 4 three bedroom houses.

The type of building is double brick with truss roofs the existing ceilings have been left in place and new suspended ceilings are being installed beneath leaving all of what has been building up in these ceiling spaces for 50 years there is in some places 5 to 10 mm thick layers of black dust. If you are at all familiar with the area around the north west corner of lake Macquarie there was a aluminium smelter located not more than 10 kms from this site no consideration has been taken on the affects of the health of the people working in these ceiling spaces myself being an electrician i will be spending the next 6 weeks in these filthy ceiling spaces.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the industry sometimes we as construction workers feel that it is not appropriate to approach the building company that we are all working for and request that this problem be rectified for the health and safety of the people currently working in this work place. The builders do not have a safety committee conveniently, weekly safety walks are undertaken I myself being the supervisor and delegate for my electrical company feel that I am not in a position to bring this problem up with the builders in this way. I am just seeking advice on this issue I would have to remain anonymous if this issue was taken up with the building company raising issues like this can impact highly on the day to day operations on the construction site for me and my company. Unfortunately because this does pose such a great health risk for myself and the other people working around me I would be more than happy to be contacted about this issue.

Yours sincerely‍

ANSWER: 08 Mar 2007

Dear Luke,

Was there actually also an aluminium smelter in the area or are you actually talking about the lead smelter at Cockle Creek (owned by Pasminco) as the one smelter within 10 kms of your building site?

I can think of several approaches to take so that the vital information that the builder should have (about the need to have the ceiling dust removed by a member of the Australian Dust Removalists Association) gets to the builder. I could send it direct to the builder out of the blue (not mentioning you), you or I could send it to WorkCover Newcastle office and specifically ask them to inspect your building site, or you or I could send it to the Council and ask them to review the Development Application to add a requirement that the dust must be removed. How would you like to proceed?

Yours Sincerely Elizabeth O'Brien

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