Questions over asbestos signage

Signage warning of an open excavation and the presence of asbestos.

David Slingsby, Tokai

I was flabbergasted riding up Tokai Road, passing the turn to Zwaanswyk Road, to see an excavation on the right with warning material surrounding it. There is a health-and-safety sign warning of the danger of an open excavation and another warning of asbestos being dumped.

I assume this ground is part of the Table Mountain National Park. How is it possible a shallow hole is excavated with hazardous material being placed, I assume to be buried?

The law pertaining to the disposal of asbestos is very clear:

An employer or self-employed person shall as far as is reasonably practicable ensure that—

(a) all asbestos waste is placed in containers that will prevent the likelihood of exposure during handling;

(b) all vehicles, re-usable containers or any other similar articles which have been in contact with asbestos waste are cleaned and decontaminated after use, in such a way that such vehicles, containers or similar articles do not cause a hazard inside or outside the workplace concerned;

(c) all asbestos waste which can cause exposure, is disposed of only on sites specifically designated for this purpose in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (Act 73 of 1989), and the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act 107 of 1998), and in such a manner that it does not cause a hazard inside or outside the site concerned;

(d) all persons occupied in the collection, transport and disposal of asbestos waste, who may be exposed to that waste, are provided with suitable personal protective equipment; and

(e) where the services of a contractor for the disposal of asbestos waste are used, a provision is incorporated into the contract stating that the contractor shall also comply with the provisions of these regulations.

Maybe the National Parks Board is excluded from the laws of the land.

• The letter was sent to Table Mountain National Park who forwarded this to Shiehaam Noordien at the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. She responds:

No dumping or storage of any asbestos material was done in the excavation. We cut out a section of the water line (asbestos pipe) to install a PRV (pressure reducing valve).

The material removed, was wrapped in the correct plastic sheeting. Stored in a building (at Chrysalis pump room) agreed on by Chrysalis (Steven Coetzee) and myself, with access only through myself, my contractor and Mr Coetzee.

All asbestos material has already been removed by an approved asbestos removable company on Tuesday September 14.

The sign attached by the complainant does not indicate any storage or dumping of asbestos. By law/regulation, we are required to notify the public, workers and staff that asbestos is present and will be handled. These are general signs as per the regulation.

All our work was approved and inspected while busy on site by the Department of Transport and Public Works and health and safety consultants.

We are currently busy with the construction of a chamber, and, weather permitted, should be completed by the end of September.

A reader took this picture of a shallow hole, in Tokai Road, passing the turn to Zwaanswyk Road, in which, he says, it appears that asbestos was dumped.