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Building and Energy urges electricians working on power transformers to exercise caution after a recent incident where electrical workers were exposed to hazardous asbsestos-containing material (ACM).
In January 2018, electrical workers undertaking repairs to a high voltage (HV) power transformer which had failed, disconnected the transformer by unbolting and removing a gland plate from the base of the transformers junction box.
The gland plate broke while being removed. When the workers turned the gland plate over, the found “Asbestos” stencilled on its underside. At the time of the incident, the electrical workers were not wearing respirators.
When ACM is disturbed the fibres released, if inhaled, can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma.
The Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety issued a Significant Incident Report No. 263 on 8 June 2018 which identified the causes to the incident to be the failure of the workers to identify ACM in the power transformer prior to the commencement of work and also prepare and implement a Safe Work Method Statement to prevent damage to the gland plate. The power transformer had also not been recorded in the asbestos register for the site.
The following actions have been recommended when working on power transformers: