Asbestos exposure levels did not exceed national standards, Water Corporation investigation reveals


Photo: SafetyCulture Library

An investigation into the exposure of employees and contractors to asbestos-containing materials when the Minnevale Reservoir was repaired has been completed.

Water Corporation’s investigation found that “there were multiple opportunities for asbestos to be identified on the Minnevale Reservoir site but contractors were not informed during the planning, design and construction phases of the refurbishment project.”

An independent expert in asbestos risk management was also commissioned to conduct a re-enactment of grinding work carried out during the refurbishment of the reservoir.

The report found that the concentration of asbestos presence in almost all samples taken did not exceed the Workplace Exposure Standard, set by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.

Water Corporation Chief Executive Officer Sue Murphy is hoping the results of the report would provide reassurance to the workers who carried out work at the reservoir during the project.

“I am sincerely sorry for the concern this news no doubt caused our employees and contractors, and I want to assure not only these people but also the Western Australian public, we are taking full responsibility in every aspect,” said Ms. Murphy.

“An analysis of about 1000 projects carried out in recent years shows no other such failure to communicate the risk of asbestos but we are taking all necessary steps to prevent this situation from ever occurring again.”

Water Corporation’s asbestos management processes and accountabilities have been reviewed following the incident and improvements implemented.

“This include steps to ensure our project delivery process has multiple check points for asbestos identification and management,” said Ms. Murphy.

WorkSafe WA has been informed of the findings of the investigation.

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