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Don’t Risk Safety

June 28, 2022

CAMEC, a manufacturing facility in Dandenong South, caught fire this morning, stopping work on the manufacturing floor of the factory. Workers were sent to the neighbouring onsite warehouse to await further instruction. A unionised site,  AWU delegate Mario Augustus thought it odd that workers were asked to return to work not long after the fire brigade had extinguished the internal fire .

Mario did the right thing and contacted his union organiser for advice and intervention before heading back into the workplace. Steve Bonica AWU organiser for CAMEC members and AWU OHS Director Percy Pillai advised against going back to work as no risk assessment had been undertaken, nor had there been any consultation. The dangers could have been structural and internal damage, fumes and vapours of the  chemicals used in the factory. No information was given on how or why this fire started, so to send workers back in without knowing what could happen to them is bordering on negligent.

A call to a senior manager on another CAMEC site was enough to have the workplace shut down until further investigations and consultation can be undertaken. As a fire is a notifiable incident under the OHS Act, WorkSafe has been notified and the incident site preserved by CAMEC.

This is a timely reminder of the importance of being a part of a union and having representatives on site who have the foresight to know that it is not business as usual when any accident or  incident occurs.

The importance of having union Health and Safety Representatives and Delegates on your work site could be the difference between life and death. You have rights and the company has a duty to consult your representatives.

In your workplace do you know the protocols for fire safety, chemical leaks, and any other OHS Incidents, hazards, and risks? Now might be the time to nominate yourself or a workmate to be your eyes and ears on these matters.

“What happened at CAMEC shows the value of asking for advice and assistance from your union if something doesn’t seem quite right.” – Ben Davis, AWU Victorian Branch Secretary

For more information on what a HSR and Delegate role entails click here

If you want further information contact The AWU Victoria

0383270888 OR [email protected]

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