The health and safety of patients, staff and construction workers is a priority for the Tasmanian Government.
As I have repeatedly said, it is no secret that there are asbestos issues at the Royal Hobart Hospital given the age of the buildings, which is one of the reasons we are redeveloping.

The RHH Redevelopment is actively managing asbestos removal and remediation during the refurbishment works, which are now in the final stages.

Asbestos management is not a trivial matter and as such, is not the place for the sort of hearsay, assumptions and fearmongering we have seen from Kevin Harkins, who is not an expert on asbestos or asbestos removal.

Mr Harkins has made numerous false claims which should be challenged.

Undisturbed, asbestos containing materials do not pose a risk.

Asbestos containing building materials that are loose or crumbling and where fibres can easily be released into the air must be removed or remediated.

Materials containing asbestos have been removed from the RHH areas being refurbished.

In some situations, the removal of asbestos has not been practicable, often because it is part of the building’s structure.

In these cases, the materials containing asbestos have been encapsulated.

Building condition and hazardous materials audits were conducted before the refurbishment works commenced to confirm and enhance the RHH asbestos register.

Extensive inspections of all areas of the RHH are not often possible until these patient and staff areas are vacated. This has been the case with the RHH Redevelopment’s refurbishment works.

The RHH and RHH Redevelopment are also working together to ensure the hospital’s asbestos register is updated.
Air testing is routinely conducted in construction zones and adjacent areas. To date, all air tests have been clean.

WorkSafe Tasmania is always advised if there is an incident of concern, which is the proper process.
I urge Mr Harkins to stop playing politics and leave the issue of asbestos management to experts who know what they are talking about.

For more information on the management of asbestos during the RHH Redevelopment go here.

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