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Students at three schools in Mackay, Australia have been exposed to asbestos due to contractor negligence.
The incidents occurred at Mackay North State High, Mirani State High and Moranbah East State High. The incidents have prompted the State Government to announce plans to ban negligent contractors.
The audit, conducted by Queensland State Schools Asbestos Management, found that an asbestos contractor failed to inform Mackay North State High School’s staff that its workers were on school grounds.
The audit also found that Qbuild failed to notify Moranbah East State High School’s principle that a contractor used an insufficient, standard vacuum to remove asbestos material-possibly allowing asbestos particles to become airborne.
Lastly, the report noted that, at Mirani State High School, the ceiling collapsed due to a “minor structure failure” and students were required to shower in their uniforms due to the asbestos which rained down upon them.
In all of these incidents, students were put at risk for contracting asbestos related diseases-such as malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare disease which affects the linings of many of the body’s internal cavities.
Many mesothelioma doctors have trouble treating the disease, as it is particularly aggressive.
The contractors will be dealt with severely, and the government will ban negligent contractors, such as those who performed work on the three schools.
The audit also contained 13 recommendations to strengthen policies and procedures at the schools, including training for school staff and greater requirements for contractors.