MORE INFO: Ausgrid substation asbestos - full list

Ausgrid Substations with Asbestos-containing Gear Switch Panels:

Aberdeen, Adamstown, Brandy Hill, Broadmeadow, Charlestown, Croudace Bay, Jesmond, Kurri, Maitland Zone, Mayfield West, Medowie, Morisset, Muswellbrook, Rathmines, Raymond Terrace, Rothbury, Scone, Tanilba Bay, Tomago, Tomaree, Avoca, Empire Bay, Lake Munmorah, Long Jetty, Berkeley Vale, Wamberal, Berowra, Epping, Galston, Lindfield, Macquarie Park, Mona Vale, RNS Hospital, Top Ryde, Turramurra, Balgowlah, Bradfield Park, North Pylon, Bankstown, Camperdown, Croydon, Engadine, Gwawley Bay, Hurstville North, Kingsford, Kogarah, Leichhardt, Mortdale, Port Botany, Potts Hill, Rose Bay, Sans Souci, Waverley, Sydney Casino No. 5, Sydney Casino No. 6.

READ MORE: The full report on Ausgrid substations across Sydney that contain asbestos.

Statement on disposable washers and Tamco switchgear

The safety of our workers and the community is Ausgrid’s highest priority.

Our asbestos management procedures adhere to the SafeWork NSW codes of practice and all requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act.

We also jointly signed an agreement with the Electrical Trades Union that was endorsed by SafeWork NSW to help guide staff about the identification and safe management of asbestos.

Like many other work places and homes, asbestos was a common material used in building and insulating material in electricity networks across the country before the 1990s. Its use has been prohibited since that time.

It was used throughout the industry as an insulating material for electrical wiring or cable bandages as well as in underground pits or substations, switchboards and cement sheeting or tiles.

Ausgrid has been working for more than 10 years to identify the exact areas where asbestos is present around its electricity network and to safely remove it.

We have well established practices to make sure staff and the public are protected from asbestos related risks as they go about their work. This includes a plan to remove and clean asbestos where it has the potential to pose a risk to our people or the public.

We have put in place the following measures to safely manage the risk of asbestos:

  • Asbestos Management Plan and Safety Procedures

  • Asbestos Register

  • Asbestos Training Programs

  • Planned asbestos removal works programs

  • Operational resources for asbestos removal

  • Licensed contractors for asbestos clean-up and waste removal

  • Personal Protective Equipment for staff

  • Hazard Assessment Checklist

  • Asbestos Health Monitoring Our equipment specifications also state that prohibited substances - including asbestos - should not form part of any equipment issued to us.

There is also a contractual obligation on our suppliers to conform to applicable WHS Acts and Customs regulations relating to our country – this precludes the use of banned substances such as asbestos. Industry information about people affected by asbestos related diseases is held by the NSW Dust Diseases Board.

The Board was set up in 1927 to provide information, education and medical screenings for workers exposed to dust in the workplace, including asbestos.

We have managed nine cases of asbestos related diseases over the past four years in relation to people who worked with us from as far back as the 1950s. Comments about Tamco Switchgear In April 2014, we were advised by electrical equipment manufacturer Tamco of the potential presence of a small washer made of non-friable asbestos.

The washer was about the size of a 10 cent coin and was used during transportation and packing of its electrical switchgear equipment from 2007.

As a result we restricted access to 55 substations and ordered a safety investigation, including independent asbestos testing.

This testing confirmed that Tamco electrical switchgear had been supplied with disposable washers which contained asbestos.

The washers were known as non-friable (ie: not easily crushed) and so therefore the asbestos was not creating airborne fibres.

As part of our investigations, all sites were tested by independent experts for airborne asbestos fibres. The results were negative – none were found.

The investigation found a small number of washers were present at six substations, and these were safely removed.

While independent assessors found there was a very low risk of the washers being present at the remaining locations, it would have been necessary to completely dismantle the switchgear to check – this would have put the power supply to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses at risk.

If the washers are present, they are completely sealed off – in between metal cabinets or panels.

These cabinets are located in secure indoor substations that are fenced off.

As a further precaution, the switchgear at the remaining locations was labelled to allow our staff to continue to work safely in accordance with SafeWork NSW requirements.

This matter has been thoroughly investigated and we have taken all the recommended action from the safety regulators and other independent experts to make sure any potential risk from asbestos has been managed safely for our staff and the public.

Following the investigation, Ausgrid has reinforced to our suppliers that they must ensure their products - and packaging - are free from asbestos.