What happens on the dock stays on the dock unless it is a diesel spillage and then it’s flushed down the stormwater drain. At least that’s what members are saying about a significant diesel spillage on a dock at a Australia Post facility recently. The incident was reported to management who attempted the clean up. A worker went home unwell after exposure to the fumes.
Curiously, during a subsequent team brief workers were told the diesel spillage (60 litres according to some reports) wasn’t an incident (hence no incident report needed) but a hazard. Really! Under the WHS Act an uncontrolled spillage that exposes a worker to a serious risk is termed a dangerous incident. An employer must ensure that the regulator is notified immediately of a dangerous incident. Failure to do so risks a penalty of $50,000 in the case of a company.
Workers were also told that if they don’t report hazards in the future then they will be counselled under the employee counselling and discipline policy. Come on! The incident was reported immediately. Sounds like a big cover up.