​Inspectors called in about silica dust at Gungahlin Pool


WorkSafe ACT Inspectors were called to the closed Gungahlin Pool following complaints about silica dust affecting workers, Freedom of Information documents reveal.

Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley sought the documents which show inspectors visited the problem-plagued pool on July 24 last year to conduct an “Assessment for Respirable Silica Dust”.

The inspector’s report reveals: “We had received some concerns about large amounts of dust coming from some tiling work in the pool area and it was thought silica could be involved.”

The report states that five workers had been using angle grinders to remove the material which had glued the tiles to the concrete. It is unclear what the report concluded as most FOI documents were withheld, and information redacted.

“This is a serious concern which has only come to light due to my FOI inquiry,” Ms Castley said.

“Minister for Sport Yvette Berry must immediately explain what’s been going on and guarantee that no worker has been or will be exposed to silica dust.

“This is particularly urgent because the government has just signed with construction company Kynetic to fix the pool which will see big teams of workers on site.”

The Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement contains two references to silica dust (pages 13 & 18) and states the government will introduce stronger workplace regulations to protect tradespeople from silica dust.

In October 2019 WorkSafe inspectors shut down a prisoner transport area at the Supreme Court after silica was discovered. CPSU members had been raising serious safety concerns since moving to the new ACT Courts Facility.