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Testing of Locomotives underway to ensure staff safety

1 March 2014

KiwiRail is carrying out urgent testing to ensure our staffs’ safety after manufacturers confirmed the soundproofing compound used in its DL locomotives includes a small proportion of asbestos. 

 

This was prompted after routine testing of a paint sample indicated the possible presence of asbestos, despite contractual specification that no asbestos be used in the design and manufacture of the locomotives.  

Analysis carried out on a single locomotive today confirmed that the asbestos is contained and does not constitute a risk to health, says KiwiRail’s chief executive Peter Reidy. 

“We have made arrangements to continue testing the fleet through the weekend.  The DLs will not be run until tests have confirmed they are safe.  We expect that confirmation of the results be by early next week.  We will be also given advice on how to manage and rectify the situation moving forwards.”

“We have tonight written to all affected staff to inform them of the situation.  Once testing is finished and we have a clearer picture of the situation, we will  work with the manufacturers to rectify the situation.”

“At this point we have yet to work through those details –  our first and most important step is to  confirm  that our staff can  continue to work safely with these  locomotives, and that  is  what we are working  through  now.”

Testing was arranged here in New Zealand yesterday, immediately after the Chinese manufacturers of the locomotives confirmed the presence of asbestos in the compound yesterday. 

The compound - a solid resin - contains 5% Chrysotile (White Asbestos) asbestos and is not exposed, but either coated with paint or sealed beneath panelling.

The inclusion of asbestos is in breach of the contract specification which clearly stated no asbestos.  Additionally assurances had been sought and given last year, following reports of asbestos in Chinese-manufactured locomotives in Australia.

“We are clearly very disappointed with this situation and working closely with the manufacturers to understand how this could possibly have occurred.  They have taken full responsibility for this and have undertaken to do whatever is necessary to rectify the situation as quickly as possible for us,” Mr Reidy says.

ENDS

Issued by KiwiRail.  Media Contact: Senior Communications Advisor Jenni Austin, 021 961 495