Telstra to restart NBN remediation work

Work will restart 19 August now that “additional safeguards” have been put in place, according to the telco

Remediation work on Telstra’s pits for the National Broadband Network (NBN) will recommence in two weeks.

Work will restart 19 August now that “additional safeguards” have been put in place, according to the telco.

This includes requiring contractors to ensure their staff have completed asbestos training for the handling and removal of the product from pits.

“We advised our contractors today that only companies which hold a Class B licence and can certify their staff have relevant training will start work from 19 August. We expect the workforce to steadily ramp up as more contractors meet these stringent requirements,” Brendon Riley, chief operations officer, said in a statement.

In late May, remediation work on Telstra’s pits for the NBN was shut down in the Sydney suburb of Penrith due to contractors not safely removing asbestos. Telstra later temporarily ceased remediation work on other pits around Australia.

In June, Telstra directed contractors to improve asbestos handling procedures after a review by the telco found deficiencies in the way the fibrous material was treated during the remediation of its pits.

Telstra has now assigned 125 of its staff for a specialist asbestos team that will supervise pit remediation, with 200 specialists to inspect and supervise asbestos remediation work.

“We will brief local councils in the weeks prior to any NBN remediation work occurring and seek to brief residents and businesses through information packs and letters sent in the week leading up to the work. In the case of emergency works, we intend to doorknock to attempt contact,” Riley said.

“We continue to work closely with the federal government, Asbestos Task Force and Comcare through this process. We will also continue to consult with our employees and unions about our safety focus and training.”

Some 10 to 20 per cent of Telstra’s pits are estimated to contain asbestos.

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