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Members at Pacific National’s Broken Hill Intermodal Depot have a long standing contract with Perilya Lead Mine and have been pushing for lead testing at their depot in accordance with both state and federal regulation, having recently presented a petition demanding the company do just that. Under the Workplace Health & Safety Regulations, any work that involves the handling, transporting, manufacturing or repair of lead goods needs to have a strict regime of lead testing that has all impacted workers tested at least every 6 months. Members have recently alerted the Union to the fact that there are workers there who have not been tested for years which is shameful.
Even though the members were only requesting that their employer do the right thing and abide by legally enforceable regulations, Pacific National responded on the 20th of September to say that they don’t agree with the idea that these members perform lead risk work and that they would not make any changes to the current arrangement. This is despite the fact that these drivers are required to be at the lead mine for hours at a time and then in the cab with lead dust particles until they reach their destination, which means that they are potentially more exposed to the particles than the miners themselves. Nobody should be going to work with the fear of lead poisoning hanging over their head in Australia today and the members at Broken Hill are to be commended for fighting for testing.
As a consequence of Pacific National’s failure to adhere to the regulations, this matter has been raised with ComCare and is currently under investigation and we will update members as to the outcome accordingly. If you have any concerns relating to suspected exposure of lead, asbestos or other hazardous materials, then speak with your elected representative or organiser.
This article first appeared on locoexpress.com.au
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