Analysis results expected tomorrow for DL locomotives

03 March 2014 6:06PM

KiwiRail expects to begin considering  results from testing of its  DL Freight locomotives  tomorrow, after receiving confirmation late last Thursday that a small percentage of asbestos had been used in a soundproofing compound.

Samples were taken from locomotives in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Palmerston North on Saturday and Sunday, with sampling on the locomotives in Wellington completed this morning.   The samples are now being  analysed by an accredited laboratory in Wellington.

“Our preliminary advice following testing of a first locomotive on Friday indicted that the asbestos in that locomotive was contained and does not constitute a risk to health,” says KiwiRail Chief Executive, Peter Reidy.

“However the health and safety of our staff must be our priority so we need to have analysis of all the DL locomotives before we can determine what our next steps will be.  That analysis is being completed this afternoon so tomorrow we  should be in a position to consider our next steps.”

The testing began after  a routine paint inspection indicated the possible presence of asbestos, despite contractual specification that no asbestos be used in the design and manufacture of the locomotives.  

All affected staff have been informed of the situation.

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

The compound - a solid resin - contains 5% Chrysotile (White Asbestos) and is not exposed, but either coated with paint or sealed beneath panelling.  Asbestos only poses a risk to health when fibres are airborne.

The manufacturer has accepted responsibility for the issue and indicated that they will do what is necessary to rectify the situation, Mr Reidy says.