Lead contamination on ABF vessels

Since the CPSU WHS alert of last Friday, your CPSU representatives, union Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and delegates can report the following in relation to lead contamination issues on Cape Class Vessels.

Your CPSU representatives have called for another meeting with senior management this afternoon to seek DIBP’s urgent commitment to:

  • Immediately consult with all Marine Unit Work Health and Safety Representatives on the lead contamination issue as required under the WHS Act
  • Improve direct communication with affected workers across the Unit
  • Re-affirm that any Officer who is seeking  to have a blood test will be afforded the opportunity to have one
  • Address the issues of problematic facilities on the wharf in Darwin where Officers are required to access: the number of mobile bathrooms for the number of crew in port;  and, the frequency of maintenance eg. emptying the tanks
  • Provide all  relevant details of providers conducting lead contamination tests on behalf of the DIBP
  • Provide details of the strategy to address the issue of identifying the source of the contamination
  • Provide direct advice to employees on the Cape St George at sea (St George and Wessel have been cleared of contamination through testing)
  • Agree to adopt an affected vessel-wide risks management and resolution approach

DIBP management acknowledge that work health and safety representatives have not been adequately engaged in the process and they have now agreed  to our requests above. CPSU will continue to ensure union Health and Safety reps are supported with expert advice and assistance.

We are also willing to work closely with DIBP to ensure our members issues are addressed.

DIBP will also provide us with a spreadsheet of each vessel with the tests that have been undertaken and the test results.

The CPSU will continue to keep members updated on this issue and should your HSRs take action we will notify you of the details of that action. We are fielding large numbers of phone calls and emails from our members and we are committed to addressing these concerns as a matter of urgency.

In the meantime, our priority remains to continue to assist your union Health and Safety Representatives to work on the current lead contamination WHS issues. If you need urgent assistance, please contact our Member Service Centre on 1300 137 636.

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