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Photo: Peter Braig

The dry cleaning industry has expressed frustration at ''high-handed statements'' made by the ACT's work safety authorities, urging WorkSafe ACT to work with the sector to address safety concerns.

WorkSafe ACT is auditing all dry cleaners in the territory, and has issued about 60 improvement notices in just six site inspections.

Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said earlier this week he was ''appalled'' at the early results of the audit, which was started after a near-fatal carbon monoxide leak from a Woden dry cleaner.

The Drycleaning Institute of Australia, which represents the industry, said it was disappointed by the lack of communication from WorkSafe ACT regarding the breaches.

Its chief executive officer Philip Johns said the Work Safety Commissioner's public comments were ''accusing'' of the entire industry, which he said worked very hard to be compliant with all safety laws.

''We would hope that the authorities come to us if there are any particular breaches, rather than making some fairly high-handed statements about getting your house in order, otherwise cop a $250,000 fine,'' Mr Johns said.

''A little bit of working together is actually going to help us achieve more,'' he said.

Mr Johns said the industry was planning to conduct its own internal safety audit to address potential safety issues.

Mr McCabe said on Wednesday he would be more than happy to assist the industry with the internal audit.

He said it was far too early to begin talks with the industry, given the audit was still in its early stages.

Christopher Knaus