MUA Workers Down Tools Over Asbestos Safety Breach

Members of the Maritime Workers Union who have been shifting asbestos to Barrow Island for the Gorgon gas project are refusing to return to work until their safety is guaranteed.

Workers were exposed to fibres from pellets dug up and transported from Barrow Island (Chevron)

The Maritime Union of Australia is demanding an inquiry after laboratory tests confirmed workers had been exposed to asbestos while working on the $43 billion Gorgon project on Barrow Island.

(see Asbestos Alert on Barrow Island)

The alarm was raised when a Mermaid worker observed pieces of debris on pallets that appeared to be asbestos.  He provided  a sample to KJV Safety Manager for testing.

WA Branch Secretary Chris Cain says some workers are undergoing blood tests and x-rays.

"There's a letter going off to not only Chevron but to the government asking for an inquiry, going to Worksafe as well to do their investigations," he told the local media.

"I've just come out of a mass meeting with my members and they're very, very distraught."

A spokeswoman for Chevron says an investigation into the asbestos claims has already begun.

Asbestos was used in pipes and fences about 40 years ago and buried when oilfields were first developed.