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Harvey Norman Warehouse Closed Down After Asbestos Found On Products

Asbestos has closed a key Harvey Norman warehouse in the ACT after a customer found asbestos on a product they had just purchased.

The scare that quickly escalated was found in the Companies Fyshwick warehouse where both furniture and electrical goods are sold. It’s believed that the installation of a new skylight dislodged asbestos that had been used in the construction of the warehouse.

Within hours of the customer complaining about the store WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Greg Jones issued a prohibition order 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.

A stock image of an asbestos warning sign Friday, March 21, 2014. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

“It’s important to remember that isolated exposure to asbestos fibres for a short 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 little 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.”

Harvey Norman staff have admitted that 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 today to explain what happened and how they are going to address it.

What has not been disclosed is whether an audit of other Harvey Norman warehouses is being conducted around the Country.

Gerry Harvey and Harvey Norman entities own a great deal of the properties that Harvey Norman goods are warehoused in. It’s not known whether the building is of a similar construction to the ACT warehouse.