Yarwun workers' cars damaged
A NUMBER of Yarwun night shift workers' vehicles were covered in caustic vapour in late March causing paint stripping and the pitting of windscreens and windows.
Phil Golby from the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union contacted The Observer after workers complained their complaints weren't being addressed.
“Having caustic escaping in such concentrated forms to cause damage to personal property on so many occasions in such a short timeframe only adds to the atrocious environmental record of Rio Tinto,” Mr Golby said
A Yarwun worker who had his vehicle damaged and would like to remain anonymous said on the first night there was a dominant south-east wind.
“They had some guys doing hydro blasting on the tanks that contain the caustic and when we came out in the morning our vehicles were caked in the stuff,” he said.
A Rio Tinto spokesperson said there was a mist of caustic vapours that did affect workers' vehicles while hydro blasting was taking place.
“The alkali mist reduction project included installation of covers on precipitation tanks closest to the car park, to block caustic vapour,” said the spokesperson.
“In March, a cover became dislodged in the precipitation tank. Hydro blasting was undertaken to recover the cover. Hydro blasting uses high pressure water which we believe resulted in an overspray, consisting of water and residual caustic, from the tank.
“A process is in place for employees to gain compensation.”