CFMEU calls on Port Kembla Coal Terminal to urgently halt coal loading in wake of horror accident

Published: 25 Mar 2019

CFMEU National President Tony Maher has called on the management of Port Kembla Coal Terminal (PKCT) to immediately cease coal loading, given serious doubts about safety of the site in the wake of a horrific accident last week.

A coal truck driver is fighting for his life in hospital after losing his leg. Union workplace health and safety representatives were initially denied access by security guards despite having legal rights to inspect the site.

After attending the site, CFMEU safety reps have issued PKCT with formal notices (Provisional Improvement Notices) regarding:

  • Lack of dedicated site supervision at the time of the accident.
  • Inadequate emergency response system and failure of a timely first response.
  • Lack of adequate road transport management system to ensure vehicles are properly managed and maintained on site.

Today, Mr Maher wrote to the regional head of South 32, which manages PKCT, urging a halt to coal loading.

“Ongoing industrial action at the terminal, extended by a new lock-out beginning today, has meant the permanent workforce, including union Health and Safety Representatives, have not been on site for two months,” Mr Maher said in the letter.

“The union has received no response to its Provisional Improvement Notices. We are alarmed that coal loading is continuing in the current circumstances.

“We urge the PKCT management team to cease operations until a thorough risk assessment has been conducted, with assistance from union Health and Safety Representatives.”

CFMEU Mining and Energy South Western District Secretary Lee Webb said safety was a clear and present concern.

“If coal loading continues, we fear someone else will be hurt,” said Mr Webb.

“We have been given no indication from management that safety systems for rail receival and loading have been audited.

“We think there's a very good chance PKCT is operating unsafely, it should stop immediately while we sort this out properly.”

PKCT has issued a new lock out notice for workers until 7am, Tuesday 2 April.