_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"friableasbestos.com","urls":{"Home":"http://friableasbestos.com","Category":"http://friableasbestos.com/category/current-asbestos-news/","Archive":"http://friableasbestos.com/2015/04/","Post":"http://friableasbestos.com/asbestos-firms-ready-to-fight-silvers-slanted-legal-system/","Page":"http://friableasbestos.com/effect-asbestos-mesothelioma/","Nav_menu_item":"http://friableasbestos.com/69/"}}_ap_ufee

June 23, 2018

No health risk with asbestos removal: Cera


No health risk with asbestos removal: Cera


Last updated 17:27 13/03/2015

Relevant offers


Christchurch Earthquake 2011

Sir Miles Warren design may break four-year Christ Church Cathedral deadlock

What do we want from a memorial?

Christchurch quake: Running through the rubble

Court orders quake compensation land revised

Red-zone ‘fairness’ argument rejected

No health risk with asbestos removal: Cera

Quake Outcasts win in Supreme Court

Red zoners four-year battle for justice

Quakes stripped each resident of 150 days of “healthy life”

Christchurch earthquake: ‘We’re here to stay’

Asbestos being removed from Christchurch’s residential red zone does not pose a health hazard, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) says.

A red-zoned Dallington resident, living on the edge of green-zoned lane, became worried when asbestos removal workers in white suits turned up opposite her house on Friday. They took away a trailer load of debris.

“We walk every day there with our dogs,” she said.

“You’re right in the middle of all these houses and they’re not telling everybody.”

A Cera spokeswoman said contractors were hired to remove asbestos from properties in Dallington and Burwood to prepare for interim land treatment, such as levelling the land and planting grass.

“On some properties, [asbestos] material that has been used as a non-rot strip on the bottom of fences has been found,” she said.

“When the fence has been pulled or trees [and] vegetation along the fences lines have been removed, this has become visible.”

The fibres were bonded to the sheeting and were therefore “non-friable”.

“It is not likely to present a health risk,” she said.

Contractors followed Worksafe procedures when removing asbestos, hence the suits.

After structures, debris and unwanted vegetation were cleared, contractors tidied the Crown-owned land before the land was levelled, fenced off and planted with grass, she said.

In wetland areas like Bexley, invasive plants would be removed and wetland species left to regenerate naturally.

Dune grasses would be planted in sandy places like Southshore, she said.


Ad Feedback

– The Press


Comments

See the article here: 

No health risk with asbestos removal: Cera

Fletcher defends Christchurch quake repair programme

Management problems which potentially exposed workers to asbestos early in the Christchurch rebuild may also have left homeowners open to bad repair work, a report says.

A WorkSafe New Zealand investigation into the mismanagement of asbestos in Canterbury was released publicly for the first time yesterday after an Official Information Act request from 3 News.

The report, which was completed in October, found serious deficiencies in the way the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Fletcher EQR handled asbestos repairs, with workers unaware of the risk and potentially exposed to low levels of the dangerous substance during 2011 and 2012.

The probe focused on the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP), an EQC initiative to repair thousands of homes in Christchurch with quake damage claims between $15,000 to $100,000.

Investigators found contractors rarely discussed or tested for asbestos prior to June 2012, and may have carried out work on houses with dangerous materials without testing the air.

A series of inspections also found mismatches between work records provided by Fletcher and the actual repairs visible in a number of homes, sparking wider concerns about the rebuild.

The report says asbestos management systems failed in the early stages of the rebuild and asks whether the failures continued across repair work more widely.

“It was noted a good quality management system should have detected mismatches between [Fletcher’s] records and repairs apparent on inspection,” the report reads.

“This suggests poor performance may have extended beyond asbestos management to quality management of the repairs.”

The report doesn’t detail the discrepancies and WorkSafe NZ wouldn’t elaborate yesterday, but a Fletcher spokesperson described the observation as a “one-off comment”.

“We would not agree with it,” he said. “It’s a comment that suddenly leaps out of being a report about asbestos management and lands in being a report about quality management.”

The spokesperson, who did not want to be named, said there were a “range of things” which could explain the inconsistencies as repair work sometimes deviates from the paper, where practical.

“It doesn’t tell you anything about quality because so many things changed with many [of the] repairs,” he said. “[For some people] a heck of a lot changed between the earthquakes, the initial inspection and the commencement of repairs.

“You’re asking me if this is an endemic problem, and if this suggests a widescale quality problem, and my answer is no. It’s a whole range of things, and [the evidence] doesn’t actually suggest that.”

Fletcher admitted some repairs wouldn’t be up to scratch, but that thousands of homes had been repaired since 2010 and some discontent was inevitable.

“Could you do 70-odd thousand home repairs using the existing contractor force and workforce without any quality problems? It’s a rhetorical question, but we both know what the answer is.”

Satisfaction surveys carried out by EQC since mid-2013 show around 80 to 85 percent of homeowners are happy with their repairs, the spokesperson said.

“My understanding of the historical satisfaction with home renovation and repair type activities is in general it’s quite a bit lower than that.

“Sometimes it’s not about the repairs, it’s the difference between people’s expectations and what they’re entitled to and all sorts of things like that.”

Contractors dumped hazardous waste

WorkSafe NZ also found waste from repairs may have been taken to landfills which were not approved to handle asbestos.

Investigators spoke to a number of contractors and supervisors from 35 “homes of interest”‘ during the probe and discovered many were unfamiliar with Fletcher’s policies on asbestos.

Overall they found site safety plans were seen as a “mere formality” by contractors during the early years of the CHRP, with understanding about the need for asbestos testing varying significantly.

Testing was not seen as mandatory until June 2012 and waste from repairs may have been taken to unapproved dumps.

WorkSafe NZ said it was not possible to know how much had been dumped as the material was not identified at the time.

“While all asbestos waste should be disposed of at an approved refuse site, dump operators will be well aware of the risks associated with the unapproved disposal of hazardous materials,” a spokesperson said.

“The identification and management of asbestos, which would include disposal of waste, has improved over the course of the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.”

Many contractors and supervisors refused to be interviewed for the report, with only 60 percent of lead contractors and 46 percent of Fletcher’s contract supervisors participating.

Failings, but no prosecution

Overall, investigators found a number of serious failings but decided not to prosecute.

The report stresses that the errors happened during the tumultuous activity which followed the Christchurch quakes and says the CHRP improved its systems over time.

“Its shortcomings may be attributable in part to the unprecedented nature of the CHRP, which required systems to be developed on the fly,” it reads.

“The CHRP as time proceeded appears to have contributed to the substantial rise in awareness of asbestos risks within the Canterbury rebuild.”

The most significant failings occurred in 2011 and 2012, with improvements from June 2012.

A sample of 35 home repairs, taken between May 2011 and May 2013, found contractors regularly failed to complete documentation and work was often allowed to proceed without a safety plan.

Only 12 of the sampled contractors filed a report and all failed to specify how the work would be safely carried out.

Fletcher failed to catch the inconsistences in almost all of the reports, and contractors were confused about their responsibilities. Some blamed Fletcher for failing to provide policy and accused of the company of avoiding tests due to cost, which the company denies.

Investigators later identified 35 “homes of interest” but were only able to inspect 10, and found six were home to asbestos-containing material, which contractors had failed to identify.

Only one contained traces of asbestos, likely left behind by a poor clean-up.

Health risk ‘minimal’

The report cites a number of experts who believe the risk to public health is minimal, despite the failings outlined by investigators.

An independent group, Noel Arnold and Associates, was commissioned to consider the risks of asbestos in the CHRP and found individual exposures were well below the workplace exposure standards – an average concentration of one fibre per millimetre of air every four hours.

Its work examined the risks of dry scraping a stippled ceiling, which accounts for around 80 percent of asbestos repairs in the CHRP. Other dangerous work, including plaster repair, is believed to pose a smaller risk.

“They modelled the risks using a worst-case scenario of exposure and time and did not reach a level where a single worker can be expected to develop mesothelioma or lung cancer,” the report reads.

“Testing results… showed that the levels of airborne asbestos was negligible, and that with one exception there was no asbestos residue in the homes.”

The report found the risk to homeowners was extremely small but also highlighted that the “range of individual susceptibility to hazardous and toxic substances is wide”, saying it is possible for some people to experience discomfort or illness below the exposure standards.

3 News

Original post: 

Fletcher defends Christchurch quake repair programme

Canterbury asbestos investigation: No charges to be laid

WorkSafe New Zealand has concluded its investigation into the management of asbestos in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme and has decided not to lay any charges.

WorkSafe launched an investigation earlier this year in response to allegations about the adequacy of the Earthquake Commission and Fletcher EQR’s systems for identifying and managing the hazard of asbestos during the initial stages of the Canterbury rebuild.

WorkSafe’s chief executive, Gordon MacDonald, says that the investigation found that there were some deficiencies in the management of asbestos during the early phases of the Home Repair Programme. However, given what we know about the type of work carried in the Home Repair Programme the risk of harm to workers and residents was very low and prosecution was not justified.

“Exposure to asbestos is a very real occupational health hazard, and one that WorkSafe takes very seriously. That’s why we undertook a thorough investigation of the circumstances.”

That investigation included:

– extensive reviews of EQC and Fletcher EQR documentation, their systems and processes

– interviews with management, contractors and residents

– property inspections and asbestos testing in a limited number of houses – including surface and air testing WorkSafe also contracted independent experts to review research conducted on behalf of Fletcher EQR into breathable fibre release during certain types of repair work

The investigation found there were some deficiencies in the management of asbestos and the process of testing for its presence prior to work beginning during the early phases of the Home Repair Programme. However, the level of asbestos likely to have been released was very low, as was the risk to workers. The risk to residents is likely to have been even lower.

“Given the scale of work in Canterbury it’s inevitable there were instances where work was not up to best practice and our investigation did identify shortcomings with the management of asbestos. But based on our investigation and expert advice WorkSafe is satisfied the over-all risks from asbestos in the Home Repair Programme have been very low.

“It has to be remembered that in the weeks and months after the Canterbury earthquakes there was an incredible amount of work done – both demolitions and emergency repairs. People and organisations were stretched and conditions were far from ideal.

“Over the course of the Home Repair Programme considerable improvements have been made in the way asbestos has been managed by contractors, and WorkSafe and its Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter partners have worked hard to educate tradespeople and contractors about the occupational health risks asbestos pose.

“Let me be absolutely clear about this; asbestos is not something to be taken lightly and the risks of exposure need to be very carefully managed. WorkSafe will continue to work with all companies involved in the rebuild to ensure that asbestos is managed appropriately – and to ensure the lessons learned in Canterbury are heeded nationwide,” says Gordon MacDonald.

This article is from: 

Canterbury asbestos investigation: No charges to be laid

Council to give asbestos DIY advice


Council to give asbestos DIY advice


LOIS CAIRNS

Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014

Relevant offers


The Rebuild

Council to give asbestos DIY advice

Learning to play game of claims

‘Not about looks’ for Hottest Tradie

Up to 3000 EQC claims to wait until next year

House builders warned of shoddy work

Wards go up at new Burwood campus

Canterbury the house-building capital

New product launches at trade-only event

Rebuild inspiration from around the world

Opinions divided on blueprint success

Do-it-yourself homeowners will be targeted by a new campaign aimed at encouraging the safe removal of building materials containing asbestos.

Christchurch City Council inspections and enforcement unit manager Anne Columbus said that in the past authorities had been reluctant to provide information to homeowners on how to safely remove asbestos because they did not want to encourage them to remove it themselves, but this was happening anyway because it was expensive to get professionals to remove it.

The joint agency Waste and Environmental Management Team (Wemt) set up to manage the mountain of waste generated by the quakes had now decided to change tack and were in the process of pulling together information for homeowners on how they could manage their own asbestos removal.

“The message now is if you are going to do it, do it the right way and do the right thing,” Columbus told the council’s environment committee.

She said a new dedicated website would go live where DIY people would be able to get detailed advice on how to remove asbestos safely and how to dispose of it. It was part of a new community education campaign supported by Worksafe New Zealand and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

Cr David East said the problem was not just disposing of asbestos in building materials, but also disposing of soil contaminated with asbestos.

On the former Queen Elizabeth II site, for example, there were three or four large piles of asbestos-contaminated soil. Although it technically posed little risk to the community, there was a perception among nearby residents that it could pose a health hazard.

“What is the longer-term strategy for getting rid of contaminated soil? There must be thousands of cubic metres of it?” East said.

Environment Canterbury programme manager Don Chittock acknowledged the disposal of contaminated soil was an issue and said solutions were being sought.

“We have a meeting tomorrow with Transwaste [which operates the Kate Valley landfill] to discuss disposal options . . . we’re working with the industry to provide solutions,” Chittock said.

The environment committee decided to ask for more information on the removal and disposal of asbestos-contaminated soil. It also voted unanimously to ask the council to write to the minister of building innovation and employment in support of a ban on the importation of materials containing asbestos.


Ad Feedback

– The Press

Special offers

Opinion poll

Is the mayor correct to put libraries, pools and community facilities ahead of the Town Hall?

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Source – 

Council to give asbestos DIY advice

Council to give DIY advice on 'safe' home asbestos removal


Council to give asbestos DIY advice


LOIS CAIRNS

Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014

Relevant offers


The Rebuild

Council to give asbestos DIY advice

Learning to play game of claims

‘Not about looks’ for Hottest Tradie

Up to 3000 EQC claims to wait until next year

House builders warned of shoddy work

Wards go up at new Burwood campus

Canterbury the house-building capital

New product launches at trade-only event

Rebuild inspiration from around the world

Opinions divided on blueprint success

Do-it-yourself homeowners will be targeted by a new campaign aimed at encouraging the safe removal of building materials containing asbestos.

Christchurch City Council inspections and enforcement unit manager Anne Columbus said that in the past authorities had been reluctant to provide information to homeowners on how to safely remove asbestos because they did not want to encourage them to remove it themselves, but this was happening anyway because it was expensive to get professionals to remove it.

The joint agency Waste and Environmental Management Team (Wemt) set up to manage the mountain of waste generated by the quakes had now decided to change tack and were in the process of pulling together information for homeowners on how they could manage their own asbestos removal.

“The message now is if you are going to do it, do it the right way and do the right thing,” Columbus told the council’s environment committee.

She said a new dedicated website would go live where DIY people would be able to get detailed advice on how to remove asbestos safely and how to dispose of it. It was part of a new community education campaign supported by Worksafe New Zealand and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

Cr David East said the problem was not just disposing of asbestos in building materials, but also disposing of soil contaminated with asbestos.

On the former Queen Elizabeth II site, for example, there were three or four large piles of asbestos-contaminated soil. Although it technically posed little risk to the community, there was a perception among nearby residents that it could pose a health hazard.

“What is the longer-term strategy for getting rid of contaminated soil? There must be thousands of cubic metres of it?” East said.

Environment Canterbury programme manager Don Chittock acknowledged the disposal of contaminated soil was an issue and said solutions were being sought.

“We have a meeting tomorrow with Transwaste [which operates the Kate Valley landfill] to discuss disposal options . . . we’re working with the industry to provide solutions,” Chittock said.

The environment committee decided to ask for more information on the removal and disposal of asbestos-contaminated soil. It also voted unanimously to ask the council to write to the minister of building innovation and employment in support of a ban on the importation of materials containing asbestos.


Ad Feedback

– The Press

Special offers

Opinion poll

Is the mayor correct to put libraries, pools and community facilities ahead of the Town Hall?

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Original post:

Council to give DIY advice on 'safe' home asbestos removal

Family demand asbestos-test result


Family demand asbestos-test result


NICOLE MATHEWSON

Last updated 05:00 04/06/2014

Relevant offers

A Canterbury family fears they have been exposed to asbestos, but say Fletcher EQR and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) are refusing to hand over the results of a test.

Architectural technician David Reynolds said he was told by “reliable sources” that the test came back positive for asbestos, but he had been unable to get confirmation from authorities, despite asking for months.

Reynolds said the suspected contaminated material was cut by workers who were not wearing protective clothing or masks and while he was present.

Some was carried through the kitchen without care and some was left exposed in the home’s only toilet while his young children were home, he said.

“[I] live with the fear that my family was exposed to asbestos.”

He was seeking legal advice, including whether to get an independent test done.

A Fletcher spokesman told The Press the result of the second asbestos test was passed on verbally, although he was unable to confirm the date that happened.

“Our standard is to also provide the written report, and we apologise for not having done so in this case.”

The spokesman confirmed the result was positive for asbestos and related to the exterior cladding of the house.

Reynolds said the results were only “hinted” at and had never been formally passed on.

“More than just telling us, they need to show us the report and tell us where [the asbestos] is.”

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) member Andy Dickerson raised concerns about the handling of asbestos in Canterbury’s rebuild in May 2011 “because I was concerned at what I was seeing in the community”.

Some groups were still trying to “play down” the importance of the issue, he said.

“I believe this is a major issue for Christchurch going forward. The CDHB has a statutory role to protect public health and should not be swayed from carrying out this function.”

It was likely that anyone who had been exposed to asbestos would not show any health effects “for many years”, he said.

WorkSafe New Zealand had investigated and closed five complaints about the handling of asbestos during Canterbury’s rebuild, and was currently investigating a sixth complaint against Fletcher.

A WorkSafe spokesman said proceedings for the case were adjourned by the Christchurch District Court on Friday.


Ad Feedback

– The Press


Comments

View post:

Family demand asbestos-test result

Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos


Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Denis O’Rourke MP
Spokesperson for
Christchurch Earthquake Issues
12 February 2014

Questions Asked Over Dumping of
Asbestos

New Zealand First is calling on
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to deny that
toxic asbestos waste is being transported from quake-hit
Christchurch to Southland, or that it soon will be.

“Can
the Minister deny that there is a proposal to cart
asbestos-contaminated material to a substandard
landfill?,” asks spokesperson for Christchurch Earthquake
Issues Denis O’Rourke.

“Can the Minister reassure New
Zealanders that all asbestos-containing materials will be
permanently dumped in a properly built and designated
facility and put an end to the rumours that are
circulating?

“Can the Minister confirm that material
containing asbestos will not be transported in containers,
trucks or wagons that have not been specifically built for
the purpose?

“Authorities warn that there is a health
risk associated with asbestos if it is exposed or damaged.
Breathing in fibres can lead to breathing difficulties and
even lung cancer. If asbestos is left undisturbed it is
considered safe.

“That’s why there are guidelines for
safe work practices and transportation.

“Christchurch
has a purpose built, multi-million dollar landfill at Kate
Valley with trucks specially designed to carry waste to the
site north of Christchurch.

“There is no need to be
shopping around for a cut-price deal to get rid of the
Christchurch stockpiles.

“There is no need to even
consider transporting asbestos-contaminated materials in
unsuitable containers to an inferior facility.

“With the
demolition of an unprecedented number of buildings
containing asbestos in Christchurch, safety is of paramount
importance.

“New Zealand First calls on the Minister to
provide reassurances to the people of Canterbury, Southland
and places in between on the handling, transporting and
dumping of asbestos-contaminated material,” says Mr
O’Rourke.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

Source article – 

Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Specialists to handle asbestos issue


Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013

tuam st

DEAN KOZANIC

The demolition of the old Christchurch City Council offices in Tuam Street has begun.

Relevant offers

Asbestos will be removed from the former Christchurch civic building in Tuam St while a neighbouring site continues to be dampened down after contamination hot spots were identified.

The multi-storey building was occupied by the Christchurch City Council from 1980 until 2010 and was recently sold to the Central Christchurch Development Unit as the land is earmarked for the new inner-city bus interchange.

Earlier this month, preliminary testing of an adjoining vacant site identified isolated traces of asbestos in the soil between Lichfield St and Struthers Lane.

Ceres New Zealand was awarded the demolition contract for the Tuam St building and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is managing the project. A Cera spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the building contained the potentially lethal substance as well as lead-based paint.

“That will have to be disposed of properly too,” she said.

Both hazards were “normal things” expected of many buildings constructed before the mid-1980s.

Specialists would be handling the removal of all hazardous substances, she said.

Meanwhile, an asbestos investigation had been conducted on the vacant land and the report was due back this week.

Staff would then be able to decide how to remediate the land, she said, but in the meantime sprinklers continued to keep the site damp to minimise dust.


Ad Feedback

– © Fairfax NZ News


Comments

Visit link: 

Specialists to handle asbestos issue

Asbestos policy review could save lives


Asbestos policy review could save lives


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 05:00 20/11/2013

Relevant offers


Health

Almost 500 adverse events recorded

Superbug ordeal ‘felt like plague’

New mums to get healthy eating texts

Death after mental assessment denied

Girl ‘dragged across carpet’

Asbestos policy review could save lives

Freed convict poses as doctor

Science under siege from superbug

Drop in winter flu cases

Superbug live chat with Dr Mark Jones

An EQC policy of covering up asbestos in hundreds of quake-damaged Canterbury homes could be overhauled by the Government amid concerns about serious health risks.

Government officials have previously raised concerns about the way asbestos is being handled in post-earthquake Canterbury, but say the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Bill next month will make guidelines more clear for construction workers.

Staff from WorkSafe – the new health and safety regulator – were in Christchurch yesterday and told The Press it would be naive to think there would not be asbestos-related illnesses in the future.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has previously said up to 43,000 Christchurch homes due for quake repairs could contain the potentially fatal substance.

It estimated that in 10 per cent of cases, asbestos found in ceilings or walls was encased behind plasterboard, instead of being removed.

A Fletcher spokesman said about 15 to 16 per cent of houses that tested positive for asbestos were being encased.

The chairman of the WorkSafe establishment board, Gregor Coster, believed the encasement policy should be “reconsidered carefully” because it posed serious health risks in the future.

“An electrician might be rewiring a house and is put at risk and this is not what we should be doing in terms of managing health and safety,” he said.

An EQC spokesman yesterday said if there were any changes to regulations it would comply.

Coster said contractors across the region needed to be better at testing for asbestos.

“The truth of the matter is I am concerned about the potential exposure . . . particularly during that early demolition phase,” he said.

Geoffrey Podger, the acting chief executive of the WorkSafe establishment unit, said only a certain percentage of asbestos breaches in the city were identified.

“Our inspectors can’t be everywhere, but equally if everyone could carry out their legislative duties, they wouldn’t need to be,” he said.

MBIE health and safety inspector Steve Moran said the influence of big project management firms – including Arrow International and Fletcher – was having a “huge effect in lifting the performance of smaller companies”.

Canterbury District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey, who has been fighting for EQC to review its encasement policy since 2011, said it would have been cost-effective and logical to remove asbestos from houses when repairs were being done.

He urged the Government to follow in the footsteps of Australia and make a commitment to remove asbestos.


Ad Feedback

However, it was good news the policy could be reviewed.

“The Christchurch community and the New Zealand population will reap the benefits of [WorkSafe and MBIE’s] courage,” Humphrey said.

– © Fairfax NZ News

Link:

Asbestos policy review could save lives

Encasing asbestos a 'serious future health risk'


Encasing asbestos a ‘serious future health risk’


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 09:03 20/11/2013

Relevant offers

An EQC policy of covering up asbestos in hundreds of quake-damaged Canterbury homes could be overhauled by the Government amid concerns about serious health risks.

Government officials have previously raised concerns about the way asbestos is being handled in post-earthquake Canterbury, but say the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Bill next month will make guidelines more clear for construction workers.

Staff from WorkSafe – the new health and safety regulator – were in Christchurch yesterday and told The Press it would be naive to think there would not be asbestos-related illnesses in the future.

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has previously said up to 43,000 Christchurch homes due for quake repairs could contain the potentially fatal substance.

It estimated that in 10 per cent of cases, asbestos found in ceilings or walls was encased behind plasterboard, instead of being removed.

A Fletcher spokesman said about 15 to 16 per cent of houses that tested positive for asbestos were being encased.

The chairman of the WorkSafe establishment board, Gregor Coster, believed the encasement policy should be “reconsidered carefully” because it posed serious health risks in the future.

“An electrician might be rewiring a house and is put at risk and this is not what we should be doing in terms of managing health and safety,” he said.

An EQC spokesman yesterday said if there were any changes to regulations it would comply.

Coster said contractors across the region needed to be better at testing for asbestos.

“The truth of the matter is I am concerned about the potential exposure . . . particularly during that early demolition phase,” he said.

Geoffrey Podger, the acting chief executive of the WorkSafe establishment unit, said only a certain percentage of asbestos breaches in the city were identified.

“Our inspectors can’t be everywhere, but equally if everyone could carry out their legislative duties, they wouldn’t need to be,” he said.

MBIE health and safety inspector Steve Moran said the influence of big project management firms – including Arrow International and Fletcher – was having a “huge effect in lifting the performance of smaller companies”.

Canterbury District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey, who has been fighting for EQC to review its encasement policy since 2011, said it would have been cost-effective and logical to remove asbestos from houses when repairs were being done.

He urged the Government to follow in the footsteps of Australia and make a commitment to remove asbestos.


Ad Feedback

However, it was good news the policy could be reviewed.

“The Christchurch community and the New Zealand population will reap the benefits of [WorkSafe and MBIE’s] courage,” Humphrey said.

THE FACTS

WorkSafe, the new health and safety regulator, will be up and running on December 16.

The health and safety functions from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will transfer to WorkSafe.

The Health and Safety at Work Bill will be introduced into the House next month and will replace The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. It will be based on Australian law. The new law and key supporting regulations are expected to be in place by the end of 2014 and will start coming into effect in 2015.

EQC has never provided figures on how many homes have had asbestos encased.

In 2011, 143 people in New Zealand were diagnosed with asbestos-related conditions, including mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

Five investigations into breaches of asbestos regulations are under way and the Government has laid charges after an investigation into asbestos exposure at Christchurch Hospital earlier this year.

– © Fairfax NZ News


Comments

Original article: 

Encasing asbestos a 'serious future health risk'