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Source: Etu Union

E tū is sounding the alarm over a second incident involving the boiler at AFFCO’s Moerewa meat works, which was involved in an incident earlier this month, resulting in a boilerman being seriously injured.

The man is being treated for serious burns in Middlemore Hospital.

E tū organiser, Annie Tothill says workers at the plant learned yesterday about the latest incident, which occurred on Monday night.

“We understand coal accumulated in front of the boiler door,” says Annie.

“Usually someone would open the door to inspect the boiler. But the earlier incident meant the boilerman was hypersensitive and instead shut the boiler down.

“I have been told the problem lies with the feeders that feed the boiler with coal. This system is not alarmed so problems are undetectable until pressure reaches a dangerous level.

“This is serious, and our members fear another appalling accident,” she says.

She says AFFCO told the union the boiler has been checked by an independent professional, “but it appears the assessment failed to spot the feeder was faulty.”

She says despite the fear of another incident, the health and safety rep on site is too intimidated to issue a PIN (Provisional Improvement Notice), asking the company to fix the boiler.

“There is a culture of fear in this workplace and people are too afraid to raise issues for fear of intimidation or losing their jobs,” says Annie.

“Our members have zero confidence in the plant management and it’s time WorkSafe took the matter seriously. It needs to act swiftly to ensure the boiler is shut down until both incidents are thoroughly investigated and the causes are fully addressed.”

Annie says she has written to AFFCO demanding they remedy the fault and undertake sustained testing and monitoring to ensure the boiler is safe before it is used again.

The union has also written to WorkSafe, requesting an urgent assessment by an inspector as well as an assessment of the boiler by a qualified external engineer.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Annie Tothill E tū organiser ph. 027 573 4934

Annie has a busy day – please text her to make arrangements for an interview, and she will call back.

MIL OSI