Workers safe after vapour release

IN yet another incident Rio Tinto Yarwun have experienced a release of caustic vapours.

Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun alumina refinery experienced an incident at 2am yesterday that resulted in the release of caustic within the refinery’s site boundary.

The site emergency response team quickly brought the incident under control and isolated the area.

There were no injuries to site employees or to Yarwun 2 construction workers from this incident.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DERM) was notified yesterday morning and inspected the area.

Operations general manager Mike Dunstan said the monitoring equipment around the site and a visual inspection by the environment team and DERM indicated no caustic emissions extended past the site boundary or into the employee car park facilities.

The affected area at the eastern end of the refinery was shut down and barricaded while a full clean up took place.

“Early indications show a drain valve in the digestion area of the refinery vibrated partially open, causing the release, however a full site investigation into the incident is underway,” Mr Dunstan said.

In late March another incident occurred where caustic vapour mist covered up to 14 vehicles causing paint stripping and the pitting of windscreens and windows.

A number of Yarwun night shift workers vehicles were covered in caustic vapour causing thousands of dollars in damages.

Phil Golby from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union contacted The Observer after workers complained that their complaints were not being addressed.

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