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Comment on Tamahere report

23 September 2008 Media Statement

Comment on Tamahere report

Labour and Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said the Department of Labour and the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) are working through the recommendations and findings of the Fire Service investigation into the tragic accident at the Tamahere cool store.

"The Department of Labour also has its own investigation underway (under the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act) and will conclude that soon. Government agencies are committed to working together in order to address any issues that these investigations identify," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard also noted the following points:

LPG is covered by ERMA's 2004 HSNO Approval HSR 001009. This approval prescribes safety precautions for the use of LPG, including the use of signage and emergency management provisions.

All highly-flammable gases, including LPG, used in refrigerant systems currently require use of a stenching (odourising) agent. This is a requirement of AS/NZS 1677, the industry standard for refrigerating systems used in Australia and New Zealand since 1998. This standard covers the safe design, maintenance and operation of refrigeration systems.

Trevor Mallard has also been advised that ERMA will review other Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act regulations and standards to ensure that other gases used in refrigeration systems are appropriately covered. It would also study the requirements for flammable gases in other types of large-scale installations to see whether changes need to be made.


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