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Tape used to contain asbestos: union

Officials say a Queensland hospital is safe, despite union’s concerns.

Officials say a Queensland hospital is safe, despite a union’s claim that masking tape has been used to contain asbestos.

The Queensland Nurses Union has called on the government to immediately remove the material from the hospital at Blackwater, west of Rockhampton.

The union said the find was made in September and masking tape had been used to contain the substance.

QNU spokesman David Abraham said he did not believe there was currently any risk of asbestos exposure.

But he’s advised staff to fill in WorkCover forms in case they develop asbestos-related health problems down the track.

He said QBuild inspected the site weekly and replaced the tape if it deteriorated, but the union wanted the material removed immediately.

“I’ve encouraged all the members there to fill in a WorkCover exposure to asbestos form just in case there are repercussions later because you don’t see the effects straight away,” he told ABC radio.

Queensland Health spokeswoman Dr Coralee Barker said air and machinery testing had cleared the hospital of asbestos risk.

“Our initial information last month was the vinyl floor covering had a backing that may contain asbestos,” she said in a statement.

“The flooring had worn with age and cracks and chips appeared due to abrasion caused by polishing and wear and tear.

“Testing of the polishers and scrubbers, and the HEPA filters on vacuum cleaners revealed no trace of asbestos. Air testing also returned a negative result to asbestos.”

Barker said the flooring had been declared safe in the short term and Queensland Health was planning repairs. - AAP

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