Harvey Norman asbestos scare closes warehouse in Canberra – ABC Online


Exterior of Harvey Norman store in Fyshwick

Asbestos has been found in the Harvey Norman warehouse in Fyshwick, which houses the store’s furniture and electrical goods.

It was learned on Saturday by a customer who had experience working with asbestos, when he found fibres on the items he had bought.

WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Greg Jones said a prohibition order was placed on the building within hours.

Any customers, or staff who have worked in the warehouse, and have health concerns are being told to contact their doctor.

“It’s vital to remember that isolated exposure to asbestos fibres for a small duration is extremely unlikely to result in the development of an asbestos-related disease,” Mr Jones said.

“While the risks are very, very small it is understandable that people might be concerned.

“If they are immediately concerned they could contact their general practitioner or the ACT Health website has a lot of information.”

Mr Jones said skylights were recently being installed into the ceiling of the warehouse.

“As part of that they have partially dislodged a small bit of the asbestos-bonded sheets,” he said.

“Some fibres of dust have dropped down onto the floor of the warehouse and onto some of the packaged stock that’s in that building.”

The store has not been impacted but the warehouse could be closed for weeks while the area is cleared and affected goods are disposed of.

In a statement, Harvey Norman said its top priority was the safety of staff, customers and suppliers and they were cooperating with WorkSafe.

Executives from the company will meet with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Health Directorate and WorkSafe ACT in Canberra tomorrow to clarify what happened and how they are going to address it.

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