SRS Workers flee gas leak

On Friday, 7 May, workers at SRS were suffering from headaches and nausea. They raised this problem with Supervisors but were told to keep working. Some workers felt so sick that they went outside but were told to return to work. Some workers were still suffering from headaches and nausea on Saturday and Monday so they sought help from their GPs.

On Saturday 8 May 2010 the Metropolitan Fire Brigade were called to Somerville Retail Services at about noon. Workers were suffering nausea and headaches again. 15 fire-fighters were on site using fans and air monitoring equipment to help disperse the fumes.

About 130 workers were evacuated from the factory/boning room in Tottenham because of the gas leak.

Paramedics and fire-fighters used oxygen to treat 30 patients affected by the carbon dioxide leak. It was reported in the Herald Sun that one person taken to hospital in a stable condition.

If you suffered from this gas leak and needed ambulance help, were taken to the hospital or had to go to your own doctor for treatment you can claim the costs on WorkCover. If you have ‘lost time’ (ie needed time off work) this should be claimed on WorkCover not sick leave. You should not have to pay the costs yourself.

In order to claim, you need a WorkCover/WorkSafe Certificate of Capacity. You also need to fill in a WORKERS' INJURY CLAIM FORM (whether it is for lost time or just medical costs). If SRS don’t give you a Claim Form you can get one from a Post Office. Keep copies of these papers and give the originals to Management.

Somerville Retail Services (and/or their insurers) should pay the costs.

We understand that WorkSafe Victoria were called, they should have been because an incident like this is a 'Notifiable Incident'. A copy of the WorkSafe Inspector's Report should be given to the workers' elected Health and Safety Representatives for the workers who were affected.

If you are members of the AMIEU contact us and we will help you to claim and make sure that you are receiving your entitlements.

Contact:    Collin Ross, Organiser    Gwynnyth Evans, WorkCover Officer                    Phone 0417 593 410      Phone 03 9662 3766