BP denies union claims workers not safe at Kwinana refinery

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
The BP refinery in Kwinana.
Camera IconThe BP refinery in Kwinana.

BP is defending itself against claims made by the Australian Workers Union WA that it’s members “no longer feel safe at work” after an incident at Kwinana’s BP refinery on July 30 left two workers injured.

A BP spokesman confirmed two staff members were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries following the incident, while another employee was also taken to hospital later in the afternoon as a precaution.

But he said incidents “like this (on July 30)” were “extremely rare”.

“We take any injury, no matter how minor, very seriously,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring everyone working in our operations possesses the appropriate training to undertake their role and we encourage a safety culture where everyone feels comfortable to speak up or stop the job on safety grounds.”

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The response comes after Australian Workers’ Union state secretary Brad Gandy recently called out BP for “ignoring” workers’ concerns about safety and the increasing number of process-related incidents at the site.

He said members wrote to BP on April 13 — about three months prior to the incident which left two workers in hospital — raising several safety concerns including a lack of procedures and appropriate risk assessments to carry out high risk tasks, and multiple incidents resulting in steam and acid leaks.

He said BP did not address or resolve any of the attempts made by AWU WA members on April 13 or 16, and on July 3 or July 17. On July 19 BP management advised members that they were “very busy” and unable to meet until a Fair Work Commission hearing in relation to a workplace dispute was completed.

A BP spokesman confirmed BP received email correspondence from an employee on April 13, and provided an initial update, followed by a comprehensive response on April 18.

But Mr Gandy labelled BP’s response as “corporate weasel words” which gave no comfort to local employees.

“Families in this town (Kwinana) deserve to know that when their loved ones go to work at the refinery they will come home safe,” he said.

“Nothing should ever be prioritised above the safety of workers. Nothing.”

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