A CARPENTER and father-of-two is one of more than 100 workers and families potentially left exposed to deadly asbestos after a safety bungle at an Ipswich worksite.
Brad Ayers, 33, is among workers believed in the “significant potential exposure” category.
Work at the site of a bridge repair near Ipswich began earlier this year, despite material believed to be asbestos potentially having never been tested, according to workers and union officials.
That left workers to drill and grind the carcinogenic substance for extended periods before going home to hug their wives and children. Work stopped this month only after an analysis identified a substance at the site as chrysotile asbestos.
Mr Ayers is terrified that daughters, Emily, 15, and Hannah, 5, have been exposed as a result of him hugging them.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” he said.
“They just lied to our faces. I go straight to my kids when I go home. I’m distraught beyond angry.”
The RoadTek project began on the Ripley Road overpass on the Cunningham Highway after a truck smash in early January left it severely damaged.
Formwork on the underside of the bridge is made up of a 25mm sheet of asbestos, which – as a result of the crash – had to be removed.
Workers say a piece of material suspected to be asbestos was handed in for analysis in early January. Work went ahead, with staff being told the site was safe. But management is now at a loss to explain how this happened, given they have no idea whether the sample ever existed or was even tested.
A RoadTek investigation is under way to determine whether the sample was tested.
RoadTek says five or six workers are believed to have experienced “significant potential exposure” but
about 150 workers entered the site between January and May.
Construction union CFMEU’s safety co-ordinator Andrew Ramsay said several workers had not worn proper protection because they were told the site was asbestos-free.
“I’m lost for words on why the hell they would have done this – another day or two would have been neither here nor there,” he said.
A report commissioned by RoadTek and obtained by The Courier-Mail reveals that a sample analysed on May 2 was chrysotile asbestos – identified by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission as a Class 1 carcinogen.