Pictures show Southport Hospital was asbestos ridden

The end of 2013 also saw the closure of the Southport Hospital in the Gold Coast. It wasn’t until its last days that asbestos was accurately identified throughout the establishment, which could have caused harm to thousands of staff and patients coming through its doors. The old structure has been the cause of much discussion in recent years, with the presence of asbestos the final straw, resulting in the closure and upcoming demolition of the hospital.

Evidence of asbestos

Photographs taken when the Southport Hospital was open show a workplace health and safety nightmare. Photos detailed things such as plastic buckets covering leaks in the lower ground floor, an asbestos sheet left against a building wall fronting after a manager allegedly failed to tell trades staff about the danger, an asbestos bag dumped in an open skip, workers on top of asbestos roofing, tags showing plumbing checks on TMV valves from over three years ago and much more.

Earlier concerns were dismissed

It was also found that concerns about asbestos surfaced as early as 2012 but little was done to rectify the problem. Following an incident involving loose tiles being removed from a bathroom in a ward for respiratory patients, it was believed that asbestos was found in the area. Workers had taken extra precautions to seal the walls to protect patients from dust but were unaware of the real dangers as the area was not listed on the hospital’s asbestos register. Workers wore only dust masks and gloves. Some of the debris was disposed of incorrectly in the garbage but an experienced garbage collector, aware of the dangerous fibres, later refused to take the bags.

Although the hospital was an old building, this was all the more reason for the structure to be checked for the presence of asbestos. It is important that any structure built more than 30 years ago is checked for contamination to ensure the safety of residents, staff and guests.

AMAA is here to help

Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Association of Australia (AMAA) is one organisation trying to spread awareness about this harmful substance. For more information regarding the Southport Hospital or asbestos in Australia, contact a staff member on 1800 017 758 today.

Image: Courtesy Gold Coast Bulletin