Injuries illustrate dangers workers face

May 21, 2004 - Greens heavy industry spokesperson Robin Chapple, a former deputy union convenor at BHP Billiton's Port Hedland plant said today injuries sustained by four workers at the facility emphasised the dangers faced by workers in Western Australia's iron ore industry and called for a detailed public enquiry to avoid any repeat of the accident.

“Too often these industries are talked about in terms of royalties and economic benefits. We must never forget that real people face real dangers every day in these industries.

Mr Chapple, who has spoken to members of the community in Hedland, said the Greens (WA) would monitor investigations into the incident.

“We need to ensure that workers are as safe as possible in what is by its very nature an inherently dangerous industry. The Greens (WA) will work within Parliament and with unions and industry to ensure safety levels are as high as possible in dangerous industries.

“It has been identified that the plant is a dangerous area and that BHP had established a highly sophisticated evacuation procedure to ensure workforce safety. There is a real need to establish how the gas remained in the chamber prior to work commencing.

“My best wishes go to the workers and their families.”

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