The $200 million renovations currently underway on the Sydney Opera House have had to be halted after 25 workers were reportedly exposed to asbestos.

The Electrical Trades Union have revealed the large number of employees were exposed to asbestos fibres whilst working inside a service duct, and have also pointed the finger at contracting firm Downer for failing to follow correct protocol.

ETU’s Justin Page has told the ABC:

The contractor Downer failed to notify our members for approximately five days that asbestos had been detected and confirmed at that site. Our members raised the issue of [the] possible presence of asbestos last Monday.

NSW opposition spokesperson for the arts Walt Secord has also called on the Berejiklian government to answer questions surrounding when they first new of the presence of asbestos and why better practices were not put into effect considering the age, saying:

A single asbestos fibre can cause deadly cancer. No worker or member of the public should be exposed to deadly asbestos and work should not commence until it is 100 per cent safe to do so.

Safework NSW is now investigating. We’ll let you know when any further information becomes available.

Source: ABC News
Image: Getty Images / Gaye Gerrard