28 Mar 2016

Bunnings accused of removing three defibrillators

4:57 pm on 28 March 2016

Bunnings has removed three defibrillators from its stores, two bought through staff fundraising efforts, a union says.

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A Bunnings store (file) Photo: 123rf.com

About three years ago, staff at the company's Dunedin store fundraised to buy a defibrillator after a co-worker died of a heart condition. It was removed last week.

First Union told RNZ the company also insisted on the removal of a defibrillator at its Nelson store about a month ago, and at its Gisborne store before Christmas.

The union's Nelson organiser, Rachel Boyack, said when staff asked why, they were told it was because of maintenance costs.

"They've obviously done some sort of cost-benefit analysis on it at a nationwide level and determined that the small cost to replace the battery every year, and ensure staff have the proper training, isn't worth the benefit of having something like this in the store for their workers and for the public," she said.

"It's concerning under the new health and safety law that this seems to be Bunnings' risk-averse response.

"The staff were really unhappy as it was something they also fundraised for."

The union said a Bunnings store in Gisborne had a defibrillator at its service desk until Christmas, when it was moved to the manager's office.

It said the store has informed "devastated" staff it planned to donate the device.

St John has said defibrillators increase the chance of someone suffering a cardiac arrest surviving by up to 40 percent.

The union is currently locked in a collective agreement dispute with the company.

Its retail spokesperson, Maxine Gay, said Bunnings was being "heartless" and "unnecessarily high-handed".

Bunnings has been asked for comment.

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