Tag Archives: WorkSafe

Thoughts on ODT Insight : Chris Morris investigates Asbestos plague

 

asbestos - dob in a dumper [illawarramercury.com.au]Dob in an asbestos dumper [illawarramercury.com.au]

B E L A T E D L Y
Cowboy New Zealand Governments wake up after YEARS of Devastating Sleep.

New Zealand’s asbestos death toll will climb to about 5100, excluding deaths from asbestosis, which were difficult to determine, a WorkSafe spokesman said. It was expected the peak of asbestos-related disease would not be reached until sometime between 2030 and 2040, the spokesman said. (ODT)

Is the Dunedin City Council opening its eyes quickly enough even with the Amalgamated Workers’ Union (AWUNZ) on its tail ? Good council workmen dead and memorialised in photographs, frightening….

“They worked regularly with the city’s asbestos water pipes – cutting and grinding, kicking up asbestos dust and sweeping up the mess later.” (ODT)

Asbestos cement pipe [cep.bessens.free.fr]Asbestos Magnesia Pipe Insulation [Asbestorama via Flickr.com]Weathered asbestos cement pipe [cep.bessens.free.fr] and asbestos insulation wrap [Asbestorama via flickr.com]

HOW MANY Dunedin City Council (DCC) staff, work crews, contractors and subcontractors have been required to work with asbestos product and exposure to fibres over the years —without comprehensive safety training and correctly specified respirators and safety clothing for individual protection ?
The answer is likely to be unlimited numbers.
Has anything changed at DCC ?
Have all asbestos contaminated DCC-owned sites and work areas been identified to date ?
Are formal protocols and a register in place for personnel who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos and require admittance to a testing regime ?

Asbestos WarningProper warning [shutterstock.com]

ODT Insight: Asbestos: The Silent Killer

### ODT Online Sat, 18 Jun 2016
Asbestos toll will grow
By Chris Morris
The death toll from asbestos-related disease in New Zealand will continue to climb for decades to come, despite a ban on imports of building materials containing the toxic mineral. Environment Minister Nick Smith on Wednesday announced New Zealand would join more than 50 other countries in banning the importation of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), beginning on October 1, unless exemptions were granted. The move was designed to further reduce the “appalling” death toll caused by asbestos, used in building products for more half a century. It now claimed an estimated 170 lives a year, he said.
Read more

[DCC tragedy] ODT: Suspicions of cancer cluster
Former Dunedin City Council water maintenance staff based at the Midlands St yard say the risks of asbestos were not understood and early precautions inadequate […] a solemn memorial to 14 men taken too soon – photographs of the dead, showing men lost to lung, bowel or prostate cancer, pinned to a noticeboard in the Dunedin City Council’s former Midland St workers’ yard.

ODT: Asbestos: ‘We were totally ignorant’ of risk’ (+ video)
ODT: Asbestos claimed him (+ video)

Other stories:

11.5.16 ODT: Asbestos likely to be cost in future
Asbestos may impact the financial health of the Dunedin City Council’s coffers in years to come but the extent of the cost remains unknown, councillors heard at yesterday’s annual plan deliberations. Group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie told councillors work was under way at present to establish the extent of asbestos use and issues in council-owned assets, but the cost to rectify it would not be known until the investigation was complete.

4.5.16 ODT: Removing asbestos pipes
The Dunedin City Council says it will remove decaying asbestos pipes from public land after their existence at Sullivans Dam was noted by the Amalgamated Workers Union. The pipes are beside sheds near the entrance to the popular fishing spot in Leith Valley Rd. The council yesterday said it had not known the pipes were there.

21.4.16 ODT: Asbestos at pool no threat to public
The Dunedin City Council says there is no immediate threat to the public following the discovery of asbestos at Moana Pool. During a maintenance check of the building early last week, asbestos was discovered in the pump storage area under the pool level of the building and in restricted storage areas away from the pool.

20.4.16 ODT: No ‘immediate health risk’ from Moana Pool asbestos
Group Manager Parks and Recreation Richard Saunders said the maintenance checks identified further inspection and testing for asbestos was needed at several sites, of which Moana Pool was one. […] Initial inspections have been carried out at two other buildings – the Sims building in Port Chalmers, which is leased to a club, and a storage shed located next to Tahuna Park used by Parks and Recreation staff and contractors.

16.4.16 ODT: Council denies asbestos danger
A union says the public could easily have been exposed to cut and broken asbestos pipes left unsecured in a sometimes unattended Mosgiel yard. The Amalgamated Workers Union (AWU) said the pipes at the Dunedin City Council’s Mosgiel wastewater treatment plant were not in a safe state and could have been accessed by children in the residential street.

Asbestos Cement Pipe - close-up of Crocidolite & Chrysotile [Asbestorama via Flickr.com]Asbestos cement pipe, close-up of Crocidolite and Chrysotile
[Asbestorama via flickr.com]

ASBESTOS (pronounced /æsˈbɛstəs/, /æzˈbɛstəs/ or /æzˈbɛstɒs/) is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic “fibrils” that can be released by abrasion and other processes. They are commonly known by their colors, as blue asbestos, brown asbestos, white asbestos, and green asbestos.

Asbestos mining existed more than 4,000 years ago, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century, when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties: sound absorption, average tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electricity, and affordability. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibres are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties made asbestos very widely used. Asbestos use continued to grow through most of the 20th century until public knowledge (acting through courts and legislatures) of the health hazards of asbestos dust outlawed asbestos in mainstream construction and fireproofing in most countries.

Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Illness from asbestos exposure can be found in records dating back to Roman times. Concern in modern times began in the 20th century and escalated during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s asbestos trade and use was heavily restricted, phased out, or banned outright in an increasing number of countries.

The severity of asbestos-related diseases, the material’s extremely widespread use in many areas of life, its continuing long-term use after harmful health effects were known or suspected, and the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure ceased made asbestos litigation the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history and a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved. Asbestos-related liability also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers.
Read more at Wikipedia: Asbestos

Myth: Asbestos Fibres are firmly locked in a cement matrix.
Fact: Asbestos Fibres are readily released from deteriorated or weathered surfaces.

Myth: Asbestos-cement cannot be crumbled to powder by hand pressure.
Fact: Products such as asbestos-cement corrugated siding become friable from damage.

Myth: Asbestos-cement products present no exposure hazard to building occupants.
Fact: Asbestos roofing and siding can release fibres inside as well as outside the building. Not all asbestos-cement roofing and siding remain in as good condition. In many countries, the inside of asbestos-cement roofing and siding is subject to the normal activities of the occupants that can release fibres from the surfaces. An asbestos-cement panel can be vibrated by wind, causing some abrasion of the edges.

Myth: Asbestos-cement pipes present no health or environmental hazard.
Fact: Health and environmental hazards start during the manufacturing process when the ends of the pipes are ground and the waste is disposed of carelessly. Fine dust produced during installation of the pipes is a hazard to the workers and community. When the pipes are dug up and removed, fibres are released as they are broken and crushed. Pressure pipe for water distribution was made with crocidolite and amosite as well as chrysotile.

Myth: Paint and encapsulants offer permanent protection against asbestos fibre release.
Fact: Paint and encapsulants deteriorate and take asbestos fibres with them when they peel off. Why is it necessary to protect a material that is touted for its weather-resistance and durability, yet encapsulants for asbestos-cement roofing and siding are widely marketed. Encapsulants are a form of paint, and a good paint job begins with surface preparation. The hope is that no one sands asbestos-cement roofing and siding before they paint or encapsulate it, because of the obvious dust and health hazard created.

█ NEW ZEALAND LEGISLATION

The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 came into force on 4 April 2016. They set out the new rules around the removal of asbestos, and the circumstances where WorkSafe must be notified.

New licensing system for asbestos removal
A national licensing system for asbestos removal was introduced on 4 April 2016. The licences available under the new asbestos regulations are:

Type of licence : What asbestos can be removed?

Class A
Any type or quantity of asbestos or asbestos containing material, including:
• any amount of friable asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM)
• any amount of asbestos contaminated dust or debris (ACD)
• any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM.

Class B
Any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM
ACD associated with removing any amount of non-friable asbestos or ACM.

No licence is required for removing:
• up to 10 m2 of non-friable asbestos or asbestos-containing material over the whole course of the removal project for the site
• asbestos-contaminated dust that is associated with this volume of asbestos or asbestos-containing material, and/or any associated minor volume of asbestos-contaminated dust or debris.

A new role of asbestos assessor has been developed. A licensed asbestos assessor will provide air quality monitoring during removal work, inspect the finished job and provide a clearance certificate. A licensed asbestos assessor will be required to assess Class A asbestos removal work from 2018 onwards.

Current Certificate of Competence holders will be able to continue removing asbestos (in the categories specified on their certificate), and supervise asbestos removal, until their certificate expires.

Related Posts and Comments:
11.5.16 DCC DRAFT Annual Plan 2016/17 —Harden up, Council [survey budget]
10.4.16 DCC: Council meeting Mon 11 April at 1pm [DCC sites – see Comments]
25.11.15 Mayor Cull and the GREAT Asbestos Defeat ….trucks in toxic waste
27.1.10 Stadium: CST to clean up contaminated land
14.10.09 Questions about landfill charges + DCC reveals contaminated sites

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAsbestos-cement roofing before and after cleaning [specialistroofcleaning.com]

Asbestos-cement roof shingles [Asbestorama at flickr.com]Asbestorama: Asbestos-cement roof shingles [flickr.com]

10 Comments

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Balcony Collapse at Six60 concert, 598 Castle Street, Dunedin

Tweet:

Tweet from Rhys Chamberlain (@NZChambo} at 6.32 PM - 4 Mar 2015

Paul Henry
Monday 7 Mar 2016 8:02 a.m. (via newshub.co.nz)
Key: More police wouldn’t have prevented balcony collapse Updated

Paul Henry
Monday 7 Mar 2016 12:42 p.m. (via newshub.co.nz)
Police should have been given more notice of Six60 concert – O’Connor

Six60 outside Castle Street flat that inspired their name Photo Instagram - Six60 (via RNZ News]Six60 outside Castle Street flat that inspired their name. Photo: Instagram/Six60 (via RNZ News)

its SLiK Published on Mar 4, 2016
Balcony collapses near Six60 gig

Otago Daily Times Published on Mar 4, 2016
Balcony collapse on Dunedin’s Castle Street

### radionz.co.nz Updated at 11:33 am today
RNZ News
No criminal inquiry into balcony collapse
The police have decided against opening a criminal investigation into a balcony collapse at a concert in Dunedin. […] A young woman studying at Otago University has been transferred to Christchurch Hospital, with what have been reported as spinal injuries. A young male student from Otago Polytechnic has undergone surgery at Dunedin Hospital. […] While police did not intend to investigate further from a criminal point of view, they would work with the reviews being carried out by Worksafe New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Action was urgently needed to ensure people’s safety and preserve the reputations of the city and Otago University, [Mayor Cull] said.

Other events during this year’s orientation week, such as couch burning and concern about verbal abuse, including a rape threat and racial slurs, have prompted students themselves to call for action.

[Mayor Cull:] The council had no power to control the event at which the balcony collapsed as it was held on private property, and that might need to change. […]

Balcony ‘met building standards’
Mr Cull said the council’s chief building inspector had examined the balcony yesterday, and said it met the requirements of the building code. “I welcome the [Department of Building and Housing’s] further investigation to make it absolutely clear what caused it.” He said whether the partygoers were jumping up and down on the balcony was not the issue; it was that hundreds of people turned up to an event that would not normally be held in a domestic venue. “It’s just not acceptable to expect those kind of situations to not present more risk than if it’s professionally organised.”
Read more

### radionz.co.nz Updated at 8:00 am today
New footage of balcony collapse concert
By Ian Telfer – Dunedin
High-tech footage of a balcony collapse at a student concert has revealed no-one was jumping on it when it fell.
Read more + Photos

HARLENE KNOWS NOT HOW TO RULE [23 February 2012]
RNZ: University vice-chancellor seeking to halt wild parties

Listen to Ian Telfer on Morning Report

Listen to the interview with Dave Cull on Morning Report

****

Stuff.co.nz stories:

● 7.3.16 Performer warned people to ‘get off the balcony’…
● 6.3.16 Harrowing injuries after balcony collapse…
● 6.3.16 Dunedin balcony collapse – Government orders investigation
● 5.3.16 Balcony collapse: Concerns raised about stability…
● 5.3.16 Balcony collapses at Six60 gig…

Comment at What if? Dunedin:

Anonymous 2016/03/06 at 11:05 pm
Dealing with some issues here:

– on the claim that “the concert was impromptu” – it was “announced” via social media on Monday and the University was aware prior (Campus Watch were detailed). Animation Research Ltd had a 360 degree motion camera rig in operation (and captured footage of the collapse). A stage was erected and sound gear installed. This is not impromptu.

– an “impromptu” event would still need to be notified
see here: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/Frefor/pdf/event-safety-guidelines-osh-200104.pdfhttp://www.waitakere.govt.nz/Frefor/pdf/event-safety-guidelines-osh-200104.pdf
“Any planned activity where any structure, open area, roadway or other area will contain more people than normally found in that location at one time.”

– the venue was unsafe. Egress, crush barriers and evacuation were inadequate (a van was parked across the leg-in blocking access) as the band were performing (and ARL were working, and news media were reporting), this meets the definition of a “workplace” and both HSA and Worksafe legislation apply.

The event organizer has strict liability here. Those suggesting that the balcony collapse was the fault of those on it and that they should take “personal responsibility” are unfortunately misguided. It is up to the event organizer and those assessing the management plan to identify and control these risks. This was clearly inadequate in this case.

I would not want to be standing anywhere near the event organizers once the detailed investigation starts.

Related Post and Comments:
3.11.15 Dunedin: University students into excess alcohol, party drugs, sexual abuse, vandalism #CRIME —Balcony collapse discussed from comment 71132

█ For more, enter the terms *students*, *university*, *harlene* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

37 Comments

Filed under Business, Concerts, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Events, Media, Name, New Zealand, Otago Polytechnic, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Structural engineering, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design