February 18, 2019

Asbestos train plan premature: union

KiwiRail’s plans to redeploy locomotives containing asbestos are premature, the rail union says.

The rail company’s 40 DL locomotives were pulled from the tracks last month after asbestos was found in a soundproofing compound.

KiwiRail has been undertaking testing on the locomotives and says it is confident the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos in its DL locomotives is minimal.

The company says seven of the 204 samples showed a very small presence of non-respirable asbestos in five locomotives.

Testing confirmed no presence of any asbestos dust in the remaining 34 locomotives in the operating fleet.

KiwiRail says the tests enable the progressive reintroduction of the locomotives to service.

But the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says there is still more information needed before the locomotives are returned.

The union wants to know how long it will take before the locomotives start releasing airborne fibres and says testing must be carried out proactively in the future.

It also wants to compare the results of the tests to work out why some were negative and others positive.

RMTU is meeting with KiwiRail on Tuesday.

“KiwiRail’s statement yesterday was presumptive as we are meeting with the company today and Wednesday to discuss whether or not the locomotives will be returned to service and operated by our members,” union general secretary Wayne Butson said.

The state-owned rail company earlier said the use of asbestos was a breach of contractual specifications for the design and manufacture of the locomotives.

KiwiRail says it won’t return locomotives until the company is satisfied there is no risk to staff.

Source – 

Asbestos train plan premature: union

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