COMPANY FINED $400,000 AFTER WORKERS DIAGNOSED WITH SILICOSIS

The Wonthaggi Magistrates Court has imposed a $400,000 fine on Sibelco, a minerals company, following a significant court ruling. The fine was issued due to Sibelco's failure to provide safe plant operations and systems of work, resulting in substantial health risks to its employees. The court found that the company's negligence in adhering to safety standards directly led to these hazardous conditions.

The court heard from three former employees now affected by Silicosis. They alleged prolonged exposure to silica dust without adequate protective measures or warnings from their employer, leading to being diagnosed with the incurable lung disease. 

The AWU, alongside Maurice Blackburn has campaigned vigorously for enhanced safety standards, better protective measures, and comprehensive health screenings for workers exposed to silica dust. Their advocacy played a crucial role in the introduction of new regulations that mandate regular dust monitoring and improved ventilation systems in workplaces handling silica dust. The push for these changes has helped protect thousands of workers from the life-threatening effects of dust diseases like silicosis, showcasing the union's critical impact on occupational health and safety legislation. 

"This isn't just about individual cases; it's about holding negligent companies accountable and ensuring that no more workers are sacrificed for profit," AWU Victorian secretary Ronnie Hayden said.

 

Source: AWU, WorkSafe, OHS Alert 

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