Department of Labour tackles demolition dust in Canterbury
2 November 2011
With significant quantities of dust being generated from earthquake demolition sites, the Department of Labour has launched an initiative to monitor and evaluate dust exposure levels for demolition crews and other workers.
The initiative covers the Canterbury region and will test air samples from demolition sites to identify the nature and severity of dust exposure. From these results the Department will develop recommendations and work with each demolition company to ensure they keep their staff safe.
“We have been really encouraged so far by the rate of participation by demolition companies in this initiative,” says the Department’s Southern General Manager, Jean Martin.
“Around 200 people die each year in New Zealand because of respiratory hazards and the demolition and rebuilding efforts in Canterbury following the earthquakes creates an extra hazard,” Ms Martin says.
“The demolition companies we are working with are only too aware of the potential dangers their staff are exposed to. They understand that under the Health and Safety in Employment Act they are obliged to keep staff safe as they conduct recovery work.
“Coming into summer, upcoming water restrictions and northerly winds will also affect the amount of dust around the region so this initiative is very timely.
“We are looking forward to working with demolition companies in the coming months and tackling this issue in the most effective way possible,” says Ms Martin.