9 Jun 2015

Asbestos scare in Christchurch

5:54 pm on 9 June 2015

An asbestos scare has shut down a work site by a busy footpath and road in central Christchurch.

A union organiser from the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), Hemi Martin, was on his way to another job this morning when he saw three Fulton Hogan workers jackhammering a pipe on Colombo Street.

He said the workers confirmed the pipe was asbestos and stopped working immediately.

Mr Martin said the men admitted they were not following proper procedure and it was possible toxic fibres were released into the air.

"They were jackhammering directly on around the pipe, there was a couple of holes in the pipe.

"It's disappointing because of the potential risk that could have been caused from this, you know. The potential for exposure for the workers themselves, not only the workers, the general public, kids," he said.

Mr Martin said construction companies and workers needed to get their heads around the fact that asbestos was a killer.

Fulton Hogan voluntarily stopped work, and Worksafe is making enquiries and having the pipe tested for asbestos.

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