Tagged asbestos

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Now operating in Wellington

“EIAG is proud to announce that we have commenced operations in Wellington, New Zealand. The capital and surrounding areas are home to large amounts of historical buildings from a wide range of architectural movements across it’s more than 150 year history.  The iconic buildings within Wellington are predominantly from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Interwar, Post-war and Modern eras. These styles are what help make Wellington stand out as a unique city. However, during Wellington’s past periods of expansion, asbestos was widely used in many products and applications for fire protection, insulation, and other uses.

As the predominant workplace hazard in Zealand with around 170 people dying to Asbestos exposure per year, the minimisation of preventable asbestos related diseases and death has been at the forefront for Worksafe to address in the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 and the ACOP: MANAGEMENT AND REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS.

Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 state that:
“(1) A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure that—

  1. exposure of a person at the workplace to airborne asbestos is eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable; and
  2. if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate exposure to airborne asbestos, exposure is minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.”

The most important steps in minimising risk of asbestos exposure is locating the area of contamination, identifying positive samples through laboratory analysis and managing through asbestos removal, encapsulation or isolation. This is achieved through an asbestos management survey or asbestos demolition / refurbishment survey.

EIAG and staff have been heavily involved in supporting the Christchurch rebuild since 2013 and have vast knowledge and experience regarding asbestos and other hazardous materials and the steps required to minimise risk of exposure to workers and/or occupants.

If you require any further information, please contact us at EIAG. We look forward to working with you in helping make New Zealand’s homes and work places safe and healthy environments.”

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Worksafe targets poor asbestos record

WorkSafe is aiming to halve the number of deaths from asbestos, which were 146 last year and average 170 annually, within a decade.

But it will be doing it without any extra money for now from the government, in the face of a building boom and with doubts around Customs’ ability to stop asbestos at the border.

WorkSafe chairperson Gregor Coster said the government’s decision to ban products containing asbestos would be crucial to meeting the target in the agency’s new 10-year workplace health plan.

“We’ve been able to get the support of government to ban the importation of asbestos – that’s been a huge step forwards, that’s never been done in New Zealand before,” said Professor Coster.

The ban on any product containing asbestos would kick in from October, 13 years after Australia. In exceptional circumstances here, an importation permit might be issued.

Three years ago the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety said there was “paralysis” and a gaping data hole around how much illness and death was caused on the job.

Cancer expert Sir David Skegg has previously said this country is “unusually slack” about its controls on asbestos, and plenty of scepticism remains among unions who say fly-by-night builders would still put workers clearing out old asbestos at risk.

The data is still lacking and WorkSafe appears quite slow at filling it in.

Also, while asbestos accounted for the largest single chunk of the estimated 600-900 workplace-related deaths a year, vagueness surrounded the other two thirds.

Lawyer Hazel Armstrong, who has worked for the rail workers’ union, said she foresaw ongoing risk from imported asbestos and WorkSafe would be falling short unless the government stepped up.

“They’ve got to have border controls and they’ve got to equip Customs to check the products that are coming into New Zealand – including things like locomotives, but especially building products,” she said.

Research supported the idea it would be a grind – in a recent survey just 7 percent of construction companies, who are entering a sustained boom time, and fewer than a quarter of manufacturers said they had offered employees any health monitoring in the last 12 months.

Read the full article here. www.radionz.co.nz

 

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Tests reveal asbestos in New Zealand crayons

Two of New Zealand’s biggest arts and craft retailers have pulled crayons containing asbestos from shelves. The clearout comes after Government testing identified asbestos in three of 21 randomly selected crayon products. However, authorities stress the risk to consumers is expected to be low.

The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, owned by The Warehouse Group, removed the contaminated stock from all their stores over the weekend.

“We had a bit of a heads up,” spokeswoman Julia Morton said.

“We pulled it before the testing had been completed.”

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry for the Environment have been undertaking tests to determine the risks involved with asbestos in crayons, and if the issue was present in New Zealand.

The products confirmed to have asbestos are:

  • Disney – Planes, Fire & Rescue – Double ended crayons
  • Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Art Series – Jumbo Colours 12 Non-Toxic Bright Colours

“The risk assessment of asbestos in crayons as low is based on research undertaken by the United States Consumer Product Safety (CPSC) Commission, which included using simulation testing” a statement from the Ministry of Health said.

The research suggests the asbestos may be used as a binding agent in the crayons, like talc. Talc and asbestos are similar in composition and form in the same locations.

“This can lead to natural cross-contamination and this is believed to be the reason asbestos is being detected in some crayons,” the statement said.

Parents or caregivers with concerns about their crayons were recommended to check with the supplier.

“If you are still concerned we recommend that you stop using the crayons and dispose of them in your rubbish.

“Agencies are in agreement that, while it is currently legal for products to contain asbestos, it is not appropriate for children’s products, such as crayons, to contain asbestos.

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Government to halt asbestos and HCFC imports

The Government will soon move to stop remaining imports of products with asbestos content, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today.

It also intended to ban the import of new bulk hydrochlorofluorocarbons, another substance with known risks to both the environment and human health, Smith said.

“Asbestos use is still killing 250 New Zealanders per year in terms of occupational deaths from historic misuse and mismanagement.”

Opening a gathering of 200 scientists attending the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Australasia conference at Nelson’s Rutherford Hotel, he said “targeted consultation” was set begin on both.

“Already New Zealand has all but phased out these substances so the number of businesses expected to be affected is low. The Ministry for the Environment will be contacting these businesses directly about the proposed regulations and work with them on alternatives.”

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