Bulletin No:          038                   Volume:  21                Tuesday 3 March 2015

To ALL UFU MEMBERS

WORKSAFE HEADS SACKED

IN WAKE OF

FISKVILLE CONTAMINATION

Today the Andrews Labor Government demanded the resignation of the Worksafe Chairman and CEO after they were unable to guarantee the water had been tested at Fiskville when Worksafe deemed the site safe allowing work and training to continue.

The Government sacked Worksafe Chairman David Kransnostein and CEO Denise Cosgrove after yesterday’s discovery of PFOS in the mains water supply which resulted in the suspension of all operations at Fiskville.

The UFU believes there are a number of others that must be held accountable for the systemic safety failures that have resulted in firefighters, staff, volunteers and the community at Fiskville exposed to toxins and carcinogens over many years.

Worksafe – the body tasked with protecting workers – has repeatedly failed firefighters and employees who have trained and worked at Fiskville.

In November 2010 the UFU made a formal complaint to Worksafe seeking a thorough investigation and prosecutions for OH &S safety breaches after it had been revealed that the CFA had continued training despite knowing the water was not fit for purpose.

Under the Act Worksafe are required to determine whether there should be prosecutions within three months of the complaint, but Worksafe expanded the timeframe claiming more time was needed due to the extensive documentation and witness statements involved. 

In May 2014 Worksafe said its decision would take another six weeks but despite further correspondence from the UFU, no decision was forthcoming.

In January 2015 at the time Monash University released its study of cancer incidence at Fiskville, the UFU publicly reprimanded Worksafe for taking more than two years to complete its investigation. 

That publicity promoted a letter from Worksafe with the astounding decision that after two years of supposedly investigating and considering a wealth of documentation Worksafe had determined:

“There is insufficient evidence to establish any offences under the OHS Act”.

All these issues will be relevant and put before the Parliamentary Inquiry in Fiskville.

The UFU is assisting members who have trained or worked at Fiskville who believe they may have been exposed to contaminated water or soil, or have information regarding unsafe practices at Fiskville, to make submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry.  Attached is the form which is to be sent back to ufuvic@ufuvic.asn.au.VICTORIA PARLIAMENTARY FISKVILLE INQUIRY FORM

Members are also reminded that it is not in their interests to allow their information or evidence to be controlled by the CFA.  The CFA has written to some staff offering to help with submissions to the Inquiry.  The CFA has an obvious conflict of interest and it is in Member’s interests to ensure their evidence and information is put to the inquiry without CFA interference.

Strength in Unity

READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary