WorkCover NSW on Tuesday revealed that it received 94 complaints about asbestos in public and private schools since 2007. Notices to correct the safety breaches were issued but this was not enough to shield WorkCover against criticisms from the opposition and the Greens.
The agency in charge of promoting workplace safety in NSW said it received complaints that asbestos were exposed during construction, excavation and demolition. There were also complaints of unsafe removal of asbestos, contractors without a license to handle asbestos and unprotected handling of the toxic substance.
WorkCover issued notices for workplace safety breaches and notices to improve safe work practices among contractors. Concerns that students, teachers and workers were exposed to asbestos were raised but WorkCover said it monitors asbestos removal to ensure it poses no danger to student and workers' health.
Meanwhile, Adrian Piccoli, the opposition spokesman on education, said the number of notices issued was pretty high when there should be none.
Greens MP John Kaye said the department's asbestos register, which lists NSW public schools that contain asbestos, was failing.
''If it were working, then there would be far fewer interventions by WorkCover and almost no exposure of students, teachers and community members,'' Kaye said, according to Smh.com.au.