Asbestos risk poorly handled

Serious concerns around why so many Water Corporation staff and contractors were exposed to deadly asbestos at a country reservoir need to be urgently addressed, warns the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association.
“We hold grave fears for our members and others who were involved in the maintenance project at the Minnivale reservoir (between Dowerin and Wyalkatchem) earlier this year,” CPSU/CSA branch assistant secretary Rikki Hendon said.
“We are deeply concerned that the Water Corporation’s account of the number of people potentially exposed has increased from 88 to 138.
“The constant changing of the story shows how poorly they have handled the issue.”
It has been widely suggested the Water Corporation knew of the asbestos risk prior to the project getting underway but this information was not passed on to those working directly on the project.
Ms Hendon said it was a serious process failure and reflective of the Water Corporation cutting back on staff numbers and resources.
“The Barnett Government has forced the Water Corporation to cut back on much-needed functions, including Occupational, Health and Safety personnel.
“We call on the Corporation to reinstate those positions so more people are not affected by incidents like this in the future.”
Ms Hendon said everyone should expect to go to work each day and perform their duties in a risk-free manner.

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