Yallourn Fatality

Published: 15 Nov 2018

Our thoughts are with our Victorian comrades this week with the devastating loss of Graeme Edwards, who was killed in a horrific explosion at Yallourn Power Station.

It is a terrible loss for his family and co-workers. They have our condolences and we will provide all possible support.

Former Yallourn Lodge President Geoff Aitken said Graeme’s loss had hit the local community hard. Graeme worked at Yallourn for over 30 years and was a dedicated CFMEU member for the whole time.

“Graeme personified Union values. He helped his mates, he never wavered in a dispute, he was rock solid.”

Graeme played an instrumental role during the lengthy 2013 lockout over a dispute with Energy Australia, spending long hours on the picket line stocking the kitchen, cooking, talking through issues and supporting his workmates and their families.

“He sounds too good to be true, but it’s true,” said Geoff.

“The mood in the community is of sadness and anger. He died in a way that should never have happened.”

We urge authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this horrific event so that we can prevent anything like it from happening again.

All workers deserve to come home safe at the end of the day.


Yallourn workers seek safety guarantee

Workers at Energy Australia’s Yallourn power station are seeking a safety guarantee from the company before undertaking similar work to that carried out by their workmate who died in an electrical accident earlier this week.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Victorian District Secretary Geoff Dyke said workers were meeting with the company today to discuss their concerns. 

Production at the plant may be affected until safety concerns are addressed and the cause of the fatal accident is investigated, said Mr Dyke. 

“Our members don’t want to perform work if they can’t be guaranteed they are safe and the company can’t tell them what caused the shocking death of their workmate.

“They should not be pressured into operating equipment they fear is unsafe and potentially deadly.”

Worksafe Victoria has put some restrictions on work at the site, including bans on operating electrical switch gear unless boards are powered down. 

Workers are also concerned about the lack of arc flash personal protective equipment, which is in use at other power stations in the area, said Mr Dyke.

We are seeking a much broader enquiry into the company’s safety culture than the technical cause of Monday’s accident.

“If the company’s approach to safety is found to have been lacking, we need action and accountability to fix it.”