Published: 8 Dec 2015
A string of potentially fatal incidents and near misses have occurred in recent weeks at the Visy Pty Ltd Tumut paper mill, including the collapse of internal roofing and a number of electrical shocks experienced by several workers, including an apprentice. Other employees have suffered broken bones and minor injuries.
The incidents have prompted the CFMEU to call for urgent intervention by WorkCover NSW and instigate a special investigation by the Inspectorate. The union fears a fatality is inevitable without an immediate investigation by WorkCover NSW.
"The CFMEU has long held concerns about the safety performance at the Visy Pty Ltd Tumut paper mill," CFMEU Pulp & Paper District Secretary Alex Millar said.
"We wrote to the owner, Anthony Pratt, in 2010 seeking an urgent meeting to discuss those concerns, said Mr Millar. The request was refused by Mr Pratt's office.
"The CFMEU and its members are frustrated by the lack of focus on safety issues at the mill and the absence of action on health and safety concerns when they are raised by the employees.
"An OHS Committee member recently resigned from the committee due to his 'lack of faith in the company's commitment to safety'. The employee has subsequently been sacked by the company."
VISY is a multi-‐billion dollar company and the Visy Pty Ltd Tumut paper mill is a major, heavy industrial facility with many high risk processes, yet does not have a full time health & safety professional on-‐site.
"This is unthinkable at any other pulp & paper company in Australia. WorkCover NSW must step in and place the work practices of this company under scrutiny before someone is killed or seriously injured.
"People aren't disposable commodities. The inaction and complete disregard for safety by Visy Pty Ltd Tumut paper mill is entrenched. It will take serious, high level intervention to enforce change at this mill," Mr Millar said.