Scope

Building materials containing asbestos were used extensively throughout Queensland between the 1940s and the 1980s. These materials were used in floors, walls, roofs and many other building applications for houses, schools and other types of buildings both government and non-government.

The department's highest priority is the safety of students and staff at all times.  Asbestos-containing material (ACM) that is in sound condition does not pose a health risk unless disturbed. Dr Keith Adam, the department's Chief Health Advisor on asbestos developed a series of vodcasts to communicate the health risks associated with asbestos.  Dr Adam also visits schools when required to speak to parents and teachers and interested community members.

The department seeks the advice of experts to ensure all policies and procedures are current to protect the health and well-being of staff, students, service providers and the community.

The department's two key reference groups are further supported by asbestos health and safety experts including:

  • The department's Chief Safety Advisor on Asbestos — Mr John Gaskin
    Responsible through the AEAP for providing expert advice regarding safety issues associated with asbestos incidents and management.
  • The department's Chief Health Advisor on Asbestos — Dr Keith Adam
    Responsible through the AEAP for providing expert advice regarding health issues associated with asbestos incidents and management.

As part of the outcome, Dr Adam developed a series of Vodcasts for the Department covering:

  • Asbestos in schools
  • What is asbestos?
  • What are the health effects?
  • What can we do following exposure?

These Vodcasts can be found on the Department's website:  https://education.qld.gov.au/about-us/reporting-data-research/reporting/asbestos-management/advisors/keith-adam

Challenges

  • Ensuring the website and information is up to date and is relevant.

Key Learnings

  • Timely response to incidents to avoid misinformation on the actual risk
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In response to the increase in the cluster of COVID-19 cases in Greater Sydney and Newcastle areas, the Pandemic Preparedness Team (PPT) has recommended the suspension of spirometry and saliva (oral fluid) drug testing services in our NSW clinics from Wednesday 23rd June 2021, until further notice

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