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Why Are Bunnings & Officeworks Management Prepared To Expose Consumers To Risks?

Questions are being raised about the attitude of Wesfarmers management, when it comes to consumer safety, with the owner of Bunnings, Officeworks, Target, and Kmart slammed by union officials for selling at the hardware stores a popular kitchen benchtop that has been linked to an incurable disease.

Over at Officeworks home security cameras manufactured by a Chinese Company, whose products are banned around the world and by the Australian Federal Government are openly being sold, with profits and margins appearing to be “Far more important to the business than consumer safety” according to union executives.

Right across Australia union officials who are members of Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) members hit stores in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, ACT, WA and SA with protests, claiming that stone benchtops manufactured by Essential Stone which is part of the Petra Global Pty Ltd, are selling a dangerous product claiming that engineered stone can expose workers to the risk of potentially deadly silicosis and other related diseases.

Silicosis is incurable and is caused by inhaling tiny particles of silica dust, it’s been described as a modern-day asbestos.

Waving banners ‘Stop This Killer Stone’ union members claim that they want their members to be protected from the dangers of silicosis.

“Bunnings customers deserve to know it is profiting from killer stone bench tops,” CFMEU national secretary Zach Smith told the Daily Telegraph

“Our members have been educating Bunnings customers so as many people as possible have the facts about engineered stone and the alternatives that don’t kill workers.”

Bunnings is not the only Company selling engineered Stone that has been described as dangerous, Caesarstone whose National Sales Manager is John Featherstone the former CEO of Electrolux manufactures product that has been described as “dangerous” for workers manufacturing and installing silicon stone.

John Featherstone who has taken to building his own web site to profile himself, has not commented on the issue.

The union said it wanted engineered stone banned and, if their demand is not met by mid next year, it will ban its members from working with the material a move that could impact several Companies in Australia.

Bunnings director of merchandise Jen Tucker said the hardware giant was aware of concerns and said it would continue to “monitor and follow advice from the regulatory authorities.”

“The limited range of engineered stone benchtops we provide through our stores are pre-cut to size before they arrive at a customer’s site, and are supplied and installed by a specialist provider that holds an engineered stone licence who applies strict safety standards to protect production and installation teams in line with the requirements of their licence”

“The safety of our team and customers is something we take really seriously, and we will continue to monitor and follow advice from the regulatory authorities on this matter. We know that safety is a concern for the industry more broadly, and something that the federal government is currently reviewing. We are supportive of new legislation as well as the introduction of consistent standards and licensing across states and territories”.

At Officeworks, the business has cut a deal with Hikvision subsidiary EZVIZ to Chinese security cameras that deliver higher margin for the retailer.

Hikvision whose cameras are banned around the world own 100 per cent of EZVIZ, whose products have been dropped by some of the biggest retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart in the world because of security concerns.

The Chinese Company is using an Australian flag in their marketing of the brand, even though there is nothing Australian about them.

Officeworks management are refusing to comment on why they were compelled to range a high-risk camera when they already sold security cameras from Australian Company Swann, as well as Arlo, and Google Nest cameras.

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