Asbestos removed as athletes swim on

Asbestos is being removed from the Australian Institute of Sport Aquatic Centre at the same time the country's elite swimmers are using the centre.

Renovations on the 28-year-old building have been taking place for a month and are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The national swimming team has been at the AIS since Sunday for an orientation camp, which concludes on Thursday.

Several swimmers walked past the construction site on their way to training on Wednesday, although there is a barrier and signs clearly stating the removal of asbestos to prevent the public from coming into contact with it.

Tests are being conducted daily to ensure no particles are in the air around the worksite.

Comcare gave the green light for the removal of the asbestos after examining the details of the project.

All staff at the Australian Sports Commission and the AIS were informed on April 8 of the decision.

The asbestos is being removed from the outside of the building and replaced with compressed fibro.

A spokesman for the ASC described the asbestos as ''low-risk'' and said all the required steps had

been followed to ensure its safe removal. Those include:

■ An ACT-certified asbestos remover being retained to advise on and remove the bonded asbestos sheeting from the site.

■ Comcare approving the project approach and removal of asbestos.

■ An independent organisation conducting daily tests throughout the removal period to verify that no particulate asbestos are found in the air around the worksite.

■ The ASC occupational health and safety adviser being informed and agreeing to the process proposed and remaining on call should any OH&S issues arise.

''An exclusion zone has been set up around the work area to cordon off access from the public and staff since the start of the work,'' the spokesman said.

''Arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the removal process complied with applicable work, health and safety laws.''

The AIS pool will be closed to the public from May 19 to June 7 for maintenance work.

The story Asbestos removed as athletes swim on first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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