Harvey Norman warehouse remains closed

As asbestos investigation continues.

The Harvey Norman Fyshwick warehouse has remained closed since June 25, 2017 in response to a WorkSafe ACT order.

Harvey Norman engaged an independent expert, Hibbs & Associates to provide a comprehensive, independent report in relation to the Barrier Street warehouse. The goods subject of the report include potentially affected products bought from February 2017 to June 25, 2017 by the following means:

(a) purchased in-store and delivered to customers’ homes;

(b) purchased in-store and collected from the warehouse;

(c) purchased online and collected from the warehouse.

The Harvey Norman Fyshwick franchisees confirm the relevant products include whitegoods, lounges, outdoor dining, carpets, vinyl flooring and hard flooring. No other products are affected.

Findings of independent testing

The risk assessment enabled Hibbs & Associates to evaluate the exposure profiles for the following scenarios and groups.

  1. Whitegoods and furniture delivered and installed in customers’ homes by Harvey Norman contractors

“While it is never possible to say there is ‘no risk’, if asbestos contamination is present, it will be at trivial levels. Consequently, it is our opinion there is no measurable risk of exposure to airborne respirable asbestos fibres, and hence no measurable health risk. On the basis of this evidence, we are satisfied the risk of contamination of stock delivered to customers’ homes is negligible and no further action is required,” the independent expert said.

  1. Whitegoods and furniture collected by the customer

With respect to installed goods, “whilst it is not possible to state definitively there is no contamination, we are satisfied that on the balance of probabilities: if asbestos contamination is present, it will be at trivial levels; there is no measurable risk of exposure to airborne respirable asbestos fibres, and consequently no measurable health risk.

“We are of the opinion there is no requirement for inspection and testing of stock in customers’ homes,” the independent expert said.

  1. Harvey Norman personnel or contractors handling or delivering stock during the affected period and customers who have transported stock from the warehouse.

“With respect to exposure levels to Harvey Norman personnel handling the subject stock within the warehouse, contractors that have collected the stock and delivered stock to customers’ premises and customers that have collected stock from the warehouse and installed the stock themselves, Hibbs & Associates advised that access restrictions have delayed the completion of exposure testing.

“Hibbs & Associates will be able to comment on exposure levels to these people once the exposure testing is completed. Harvey Norman will provide a further update to these customers once this testing has been completed.”

Ongoing investigation

The Harvey Norman Fyshwick franchisees have identified each customer who purchased goods that are subject to the report. They are in the process of contacting each such customer directly to provide them with a summary of the information contained in the report.

In addition, some of the relevant products were purchased online from the Harvey Norman website. The online franchisee is also in the process of contacting customers who purchased any of the relevant products online and picked these up or had these delivered from the Barrier Street warehouse.

Harvey Norman continues to fully cooperate with WorkSafe ACT, Access Canberra and all related regulatory bodies. The customer communication plan has been communicated to Access Canberra.

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