CFMEU officials have found piles of suspected asbestos at Adelaide’s historic Shed 26, some of which were swept into piles or placed inside a bucket. 

CFMEU national assistant secretary Andrew Sutherland said that whoever disturbed the asbestos has most likely become exposed to it themselves. In addition, other people in the area such as workers, union officials, and schoolchildren may also be endangered by the suspicious material.

Asbestos Discovery May Delay Shed 26 Demolition

The discovery adds to the controversy surrounding the planned demolition of Shed 26. Locals, heritage advocates, and CFMEU itself have all been lobbying for the shed’s preservation. 

Sutherland said that this discovery could push back the demolition by weeks, but that would be a small concern next to “saving people’s lives.” “(Workers have been) potentially exposed to asbestos,” Sutherland stated. “It potentially just shortened their life by 30 years.”

A video supplied by the CFMEU shows workers moving about Shed 26 without the proper gear required of asbestos abatement.

The union has also addressed a letter to the nearby Le Fevre Peninsula Primary School to provide reassurance. According to the letter, workers will follow precautions including the use of proper protective equipment even if the type of asbestos discovered is “relatively safe.”

SafeWork SA also sent inspectors to check for compliance with WHS laws and codes, safe systems of work, and proper methodology of demolition shortly after the discovery.

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