Telstra announces requirements for contractors around asbestos handling

Thursday, 27 June, 2013

Following a spate of incidents of non-compliance relating to asbestos handling, Telstra has announced a number of requirements for its three key National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout contractors.

Telstra has called on its key contractors to take a number of actions, including:

  • Strengthening field supervision staffing and overseeing of subcontractor staff.
  • Addressing gaps in induction procedures for new staff.
  • Disclosing subcontractor procedures to Telstra to ensure safe asbestos handling and removal can occur.
  • Ensuring all contractor and subcontractor staff complete mandatory training in asbestos management.
  • Working with Telstra to reinforce the required standards for subcontractors’ field team supplies, ensuring all field staff carry adequate supplies for safe asbestos handling.

“Prior to allowing recommencement of works, we are requiring our contractors to make changes to ensure they comply with their contractual commitments,” said Brendon Riley, Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer.

Riley said the company’s preliminary review into subcontractor management supports the decision to implement measures such as increased overseeing of contractors.

“We are recruiting additional inspectors and quality specialists. We expect the number of inspectors and quality specialists to reach up to 200 as the NBN volumes increase. These specialists will be critical in inspecting and supervising asbestos-related remediation work by contractors and their subcontractors.

“We are working closely with Comcare and other stakeholders to strengthen mandatory training and field inspection for contractors and subcontractors. Anyone working as a contractor or subcontractor for Telstra will be required to undertake this retraining before commencing any remediation work on the cement pits.

“We will not allow recommencement of cement pit remediation work until we are satisfied the necessary safety measures are in place.”

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