Tupapa Clinic Asbestos Removal Media Factsheet

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BACKGROUND:

Safe removal of the super-six asbestos fibre cement roof cladding on the Tupapa Primary Care and Outpatient Clinic in Tupapa, Rarotonga is being implemented by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) and commenced last week with the erection of scaffolding.

The intent is to eliminate health and safety risks associated with exposure to asbestos fibres. Health risks from exposure are well-documented; Microscopic asbestos fibres are dangerous when these fibres are disturbed or damaged, as they can be inhaled easily; there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and no exposure to asbestos is without risk.

This project not only focuses on asbestos removal but also includes building enhancements to support and improve public health and dental services for the community’s benefit.

As previously advised, during this period, dental services will be available at puna and schools around Rarotonga while primary health care services will be temporarily relocated to the Rarotonga hospital.

KEY POINTS:

  • The work is to be supervised by CIIC personnel trained in the supervision of asbestos material removal. CIIC’s building and maintenance staff will implement the removal works and have undergone requisite health & safety training including asbestos handling induction sessions. All site personnel will be provided with requisite PPE and required to follow stringent protocols entering and exiting the site, inline with industry best practice, including decontamination procedures.
  • An asbestos containment zone is being constructed to prevent dust travelling beyond the work site. Other measures such as pre-coating the roof with paint/glue sealant, vacuum cleaning exposed ceiling spaces, and air quality testing will also ensure risks are effectively mitigated.
  • CIIC has received consent from the National Environment Service (NES) to proceed with the removal work. This includes the storage of asbestos materials in shipping containers, which will be locked, contained, and secured until an agreed disposal method is confirmed. The containers will be stored behind the CIIC offices.
  • Project duration: May – August 2024.
  • CIIC applied for and has been granted the Environment Significance Declaration and Permit through NES. Any person, group or organisation that intends to carry out any activity that may impact the environment must fill out this declaration. Under the Environment Act 2003 – Part 5, it is a requirement that all activities be assessed as to the potential impact upon the environment.
  • CIIC also has engaged with Internal Affairs and has demonstrated that the necessary Health and Safety requirements will be met.

WORKS TO BE COMPLETED:

  • Roofing nails and/or screws will be removed to avoid breaking the roofing. Spray nail holes and underside of roof.
  • Roofing panels will be lifted by hand and passed down. No roofing is to be thrown to the ground.
  • Exposed roof space to be vacuum cleaned and roof to be removed and replaced in sections.
  • Asbestos roofing stacked on pallets that are under laid with polythene then wrapped and taped closed securely. The whole pallet then shrink wrapped to air-tight and ready for loading.
  • Drums will be used for loose debris and soil. Drums to be sealed with polythene taped closed when full, then shrink wrapped securely. Drums loaded and strapped onto pallets and secured. Shrink wrapped again, ready for loading, storage, and disposal. All overalls, gloves and used filters will also be placed in drums.
  • The wrapped and palletized roofing will be placed on a hiab truck and transported to the designated site located at the CIIC building. The drums used for PPE and other loose materials will be transported in the same way.
  • Materials to be loaded into shipping containers.
  • All staff will be fitted with PPE certified for asbestos handling. These are disposable overalls, gloves, boot covers and masks. PPE to be placed/sealed in hazard bags when exiting the work area (for placement in drums for disposal) and a new set put on when returning to work. Exit protocols via dirty area containment to be followed.
  • No visitors will be allowed on site for the duration of the project.
  • After the roof is installed, the interior will be thoroughly cleaned. Vacuums fitted with asbestos filters will be used for the cleaning. The filters will be placed in the drums allocated for PPE, debris, and other loose items.
  • Loose aggregate area to be dug-up and loaded into drums for disposal.
  • All shrink-wrapping and polythene lining will too be placed on pallets or in drums and shrink-wrapped to airtight. Materials to be stored with other asbestos contaminated materials.
  • Trained CIIC personnel will carry out air quality sampling during and post removal. These will be sent to K2 Environmental in New Zealand the following day for analysis. If the results are determined to be above normal/acceptable range, handling procedures will be reviewed for improvements.
  • Testing for clearance will be carried out prior to re-entry into the building post roof replacement.

BUDGET:

The budget for this project for this project is $400k.

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