Asbestos and Asbestos containing materials (ACM) are still presenting a serious health and safety risk from numerous New Zealand structures, domestic properties, machines and work equipment. Spark has been identifying and managing asbestos and ACM within its building and asset portfolios; to ensure a healthier and safer working environment for our people and those who may be impacted by asbestos when visiting and/or working at one of our sites.
This work has included the development and implementation of a Spark Asbestos Risk Management Standard, and a comprehensive risk assessment programme undertaken at our Exchange Buildings and Data centres. From this, we have developed and made available both electronic and hard copy Asbestos Management Plans (AMP) located at our Building Exchange Safety Stations and through accessing Spark’s Risk Manager (RM). This enables our suppliers or visitors to locate any asbestos before visiting and/or carrying out works at a Spark worksite, where applicable.
Although we have and will continue to implement all of the above, we are still finding and halting suppliers from disturbing (i.e., cutting, grinding, drilling) Asbestos and ACM at our worksites. Following an internal review, we have now identified several factors as to why this is still happening and how we can work with you, our suppliers, on several opportunities for improvement and preventing potential incidents that could put our people, others, and critical business areas at serious risk.
Spark’s asbestos profile
Where practicable, Spark has identified all asbestos and ACM within our exchange buildings, radio mobile sites, and data centres, which are visited and worked on by our suppliers. From this and where practicable to do so, we have removed any damaged and exposed asbestos and ACM, and reduced the risks further by isolating, encapsulating, and managing all other asbestos items (and presumed items) by detailing and applying suggested controls within our Asbestos Management Plans, including asbestos labelling, where required.
Asbestos, ACM and items with presumed asbestos are still present within our buildings and will remain in a controlled state unless it is disturbed or damaged by suppliers’ ongoing network and maintenance works across Spark’s property and asset portfolio, where applicable.
Preplanning and consultation
We can assist with preplanning at any stage, supply you with up-to-date site-specific AMPs so you can locate any asbestos, offer local building and asset knowledge, and assist with any required asbestos demolition or refurbishment surveys. These surveys are required when there is potential to disturb the building fabric, plant and equipment (walls, ceilings, chiller units, engine alternators etc.) where asbestos may be hidden and unable to be identified and added to the Asbestos Management Plan.
Turning up at a Spark worksite and/or critical working environment (e.g., cable wells and MDF rooms) without the consideration and submission of any preplanning or consultation with Spark will not be accepted, where asbestos could be disturbed through a Supplier not following a safe system of work i.e., drilling through/into walls and floors, and/or accessing contaminated risers/ ceiling voids.
Health and Safety Risk Management
We now ask our suppliers for any future works at a Spark worksite to undertake a pre planning risk assessment; and apply a pro-active approach in identifying, eliminating or reducing, and controlling all asbestos risks relating to the work to be done.
This encompasses the following asbestos requirements:
- Share this document with all the people who design, price, manage, supervise, and execute works at Spark Exchanges and Data Centres which could potentially involve disturbing asbestos, ACM, or accessing controlled areas that contain known asbestos and/or ACM.
- Ensure that any person preplanning, designing, pricing, arranging, managing, supervising, and working within Spark areas where disturbing asbestos and ACM may occur at any time, have been educated in asbestos awareness and received suitable training from a recognised training provider.
- Ensure that before carrying out work that could disturb, damage, or require access and works to be done in isolated areas with known asbestos contaminants, preplanning, safety in design and consultation with a Spark representative has been considered and applied, where required.
If you have any questions or concerns with asbestos and these requirements, then contact Spark immediately - Spark contact details are on front of the Asbestos Management Plans. Please note that we are all about working with our suppliers and ensuring continuous health and safety improvement along the way, so let us work together on the above so we can ensure a healthier and safer work environment for everybody at Spark.
If you need further information or guidance, please email us.