Urgent Update - NALHN – Modbury Hospital - Asbestos Confirmed on 6th Floor Medical Records Archive Area

06 September 2018

Approximately four weeks ago, a concerned Public Service Association (PSA) member contacted the PSA about possible asbestos risks on the 6th floor Medical Records Archive area. The PSA contacted the NALHN Manager of Workforce Health and Safety (WHS) immediately and a response was provided and forwarded to members on 6 August 2018.

The PSA has now been advised by NALHN WHS that dust sampling/swab tests in the area has confirmed that asbestos is present in the dust in one room.

NALHN WHS advised by telephone that they contacted Safework SA immediately. The PSA has requested this be confirmed in writing and also confirmation that the area is now closed to all staff access.

The PSA will also be organising a meeting of affected members to discuss processes from here.

The summary from NALHN WHS Senior Consultant Mark Taylor that was forwarded to the PSA by Corporate Servies Manager Peter Mullen is as follows:

“WHSS requested that there were 12 swab tests completed on level 6 covering all areas where Medical records staff have access to, including the 3 passage ways where we asked to have a floor and wall tested.

As a result one area, room 1646, in the North Western corner of level 6 returned a positive test result for Amosite (brown / grey asbestos)

A meeting was held [with management] where we have discussed options moving forward, including

  • meeting with all medical records staff
  • health monitoring for all staff who accessed the area of concern
  • cleaning of the whole of the area
  • future regular monitoring of level 6

Directly after this meeting we held another meeting with all medical records staff, where Hieu and I explained the returned test results and what we were planning moving forward, including recommending health monitoring for those staff concerned.

All staff seemed to be happy with this and I explained my own person situation and offered my assistance where they needed, whether as a group or on an individual basis.

I have since attended the area on 3 occasions and talked to staff and they appear to be happy with our progress and where we are heading.”

The PSA has also been advised that there are eight staff who NALHN WHS believe will require Health monitoring and they have contacted Staff Health explaining the situation and provided these names for them to follow up and organise the Health testing.

The PSA thanks the member who contacted the PSA with these concerns – without this further investigation may not have occurred as quickly as it has.

The PSA will be calling a meeting of staff shortly and will continue to support members through this process.

PSA members can find further information from the following websites:

asbestos.sa.gov.au – Safework SA

avasa.asn.au – Asbestos Victims Association of SA