Union blasts mining giant for exposing workers to safety hazards during bushfires


Union blasts mining giant for exposing workers to safety hazards during bushfires

15 January 2016

published byhttp://content.safetyculture.com.au


Australia–The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union blasted a mining company for allegedly putting the lives of its workers at risk by requiring them to return to work at the height of the deadly bushfires.

The company’s refinery is located about three kilometres from Yarloop, which has recently been affected by massive bushfires.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said workers were pressured to work despite unsafe conditions. The union insisted 100 of the mining company’s workers were bussed through the fire zone without any escort.

“They have shown no regard for their safety and welfare and it was only by pure luck that 100 lives weren’t lost as a result,” Yahoo7 News quoted Mr McCartney saying.

Labor Member for the South West region Sally Talbot called for an independent inquiry into how the company managed the safety of its workers at the height of the fire, as reported by ABC.

“Those people spent well nigh on 12 hours in fear of their lives,” said Ms Talbot.

“This is just not good enough and there is clearly a case to answer here.”

The company rejected claims that the employees’ lives were put to risk, explaining that staffing levels were reduced to about a third and all transportation of workers in and out of the refinery were only undertaken after receiving permission from authorities. They also said buses transporting the workers were escorted by the Department of Fire and Emergency personnel.

A crisis management centre was also established at its office in Pinjarra.


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