Media Releases

Workers poisoned by AGL Torrens Island, SafeWork 'missing' after 7 months

February 06, 2024

Workers at the AGL Torrens Island Power Station were poisoned with lead after AGL had failed to establish safety processes for handling lead in early 2023.
SafeWork SA were notified of the exposure to lead, and despite further exposure events occurring on site and over half a year passing, the regulator has yet to issue any improvement notices. 

Yesterday the ABC reported on Electrician, Sean Gibbons, one of the poisoned workers who spoke out, he tested triple the maximum safe levels for lead, over a month after work had stopped. The physical affects of the poisoning plagued him for months. 

A year ago, the Merritt review into SafeWork SA called for ‘civil standing’ on WHS matters, which would give the South Australian Employment Tribunal greater standing to resolve disputes. The state government is currently consulting on this key recommendation.

“If someone is injured or dies at work – their employer should have to answer questions about whether they did everything they were meant to do to keep that worker safe. That needs to happen quickly, not after waiting half a year.” 

“The regulator’s indecision in this case, is in itself a decision to not make this workplace safer.” 

“SafeWork SA relies on a low number of slow and reactive criminal prosecutions to motivate bosses to protect workers. The SafeWork review showed that isn’t working. Safe workplaces need us to be proactive.” 

“Criminal prosecutions of bosses hurting workers an important part of the system, but the bar for criminal prosecutions is so high that only high-profile and ‘slam dunk’ cases proceed.” 

“Workers need somewhere else to go, safety should be about keeping workers safe, not waiting for the unthinkable to happen.” 

“There are businesses in South Australia not just getting away with cutting corners on safety, they’ve made it their business model!” 

“The government’s proposed workplace safety laws will save lives, it’s that simple. Workers can’t afford to wait any longer.”