TWU Demands Urgent Safety Investigation of Crawfords Freightlines

Release date: 18/08/2015

TWU NSW News, 18 August 2015
Transport Workers' Union Newcastle Secretary Mick Forbes has called on the Baird Government to launch an urgent investigation of Crawfords Freightlines after a series of recent fatalities and a litany of safety concerns raised by transport workers.

Mr Forbes said that the TWU had already written to WorkCover urging them to clean up the company's Sandgate yard, which has been the site of two tragic fatalities in six weeks and the scene of numerous breaches of environmental regulations in recent years.
"Mike Baird needs to stop dithering and act before anyone else gets hurt," Mr Forbes said.
"It's no exaggeration to say that right now this is one of the most dangerous trucking yards in the country," Mr Forbes said.
"Transport workers are telling us that it's Rafferty's Rules in the yard, with a total absence of safety procedures in the loading area."
Mr Forbes said that Crawfords had an abysmal track record of ignoring safety and environmental regulations and had been caught out by the authorities on several occasions.
"It's clear that this company thinks the rules don't apply to them," Mr Forbes said.
"They have been named and shamed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) over stockpiling ammonium nitrate, which is used to make explosives without the proper license. That's bomb making material sitting in a suburban transport yard in Sandgate.
"Last year their timber exporting business was shut down by the EPA over the improper use of the toxic fumigant methyl bromide," Mr Forbes said.
Mr Forbes said it was time the authorities acted to clean up the company before another tragedy occurred.
"The last thing we want is another tragic incident involving transport workers, dangerous chemicals or explosives – we need the authorities to get in there and clean things up for the safety of the entire community," Mr Forbes said.
· August 4 – A forklift driver dies after an altercation with a work colleague on site
· July 4 – A maintenance worker dies on site
· November 2014 - Crawfords timber exporting operation shut down by the EPA over use of methyl bromide
· December 2011 – Crawfords caught stockpiling ammonium nitrate without a license
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