ESR testing of chemical exposure site in Christchurch
Media advisory – Christchurch today
At WorkSafe’s request, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) is undertaking testing at a site in Bromley in Christchurch at which a worker was exposed to chemicals two weeks ago. The worker is in Christchurch Hospital and you should approach the company involved for details of his condition.
The incident was fully contained within the building and there is no environmental health risk to surrounding workplaces or people in the vicinity. The site has been non-operational and closed since the incident.
The testing today is designed to understand the concentrations of the chemicals present at the site; to ensure the site is safe for testing to be undertaken; and to assist regulators determine whether the incident involved any breaches of health and safety or environmental law.
Hazardous substances specialists from Fire and Emergency New Zealand are on site to ensure it is safe for ESR technicians to enter to obtain samples. These samples will provide further information about what is present on site to enable decisions to be made on how the site should be managed from now on. All parties are taking a highly precautionary approach to today’s activity as until the information sought from the tests is obtained, a risk-based approach is the correct way to manage today’s events.
WorkSafe will make no further statement (including interviews) about the incident or the work occurring today at the site as it has launched a formal investigation into the exposure of the worker to the chemicals on-site.