A Perth Veteran who participated in the 1958 atomic testing at the Montebello Islands is still tirelessly struggling to receive compensation he is legally owed after willing a compo case in the federal courts.
Kenneth Whitby, 74 suffers from several ailments including an anxiety disorder, following his exposure at the site.
Whitby’s case was undertaken by WA Greens senator Scott Ludlum, who is confident that those who served in the Montebellos and two other atomic test sites should be subject to the receiving of the veterans’ Gold Card.
The card covers all medical costs, which is footed by the Government. Senator Ludlam recalled that many servicemen who had worked at the sites, have since developed radiation-related disorders.
Whitby and hundreds of other veterans have been battling for recognition and compensation and accuse the Department of Veterans Affairs of dragging out their claims.
In June last year, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled Mr Whitby was entitled to compensation.
“What is the AAT there for,” Mr Whitby said.
“Remember that politician who fell off his bicycle near Parliament? They backdated his compensation.”
The DVA would not discuss Mr Whitby’s case when probed.
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WorkSafe is confident Esso’s claims that systems have been implemented to improve the safety of workers at the Longford Gas Plant. In 2009 a gas leak occurred which has since resulted in the company’s conviction and a fine of $40,000.
Court hearings revealed that an operator was injured when over half-a-tonne of gas burst from a high pressure valve. Worksafe’s Jarrod Edwards stated that the company pleaded guilty and has made efforts to improve their safety measures and training since the incident. Edwards added “”Certainly WorkSafe takes all incidents that are reported to us seriously and we have diligently followed up to understand the reasons this has occurred and we have assured ourselves that Esso has the systems in place to not only prevent this happening again in the future but the systems in place to monitor the effectiveness of those systems,”
According to Edwards, Esso has since begun putting more focus behind training for operators and job safety analysis systems since the offence.
WorkSafe is reportedly pleased with the response of Esso, and it is their hopes that the company will learn from the scenario and continue to focus on strong safety systems.
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ACT work safety authorities will be conducting an investigation into the exposure of the two electricians to toxic chemicals in a Civic office building. Unions have stated that they are extremely concerned with the incident and are fearful that other older buildings may be contaminated.
Both workers were hospitalised after being sprayed with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBS, a toxic chemical that can cause skin rashes in the best of circumstances, and damage to the liver and nervous system, in the most extreme cases.
The workers were exposed to the fluid whyen a light fixture they were replacing exploded in the computer room. Both electricians were taken to Canberra Hospital to undergo monitoring.
The Electrical Trade Union stated that PCBs had not been used in light fittings for decades. Thus, the union is deeply concerned by the incident. The Unions NSW-ACT assistant secretary Nevile Betts demanded that the owner of the building search the light fittings throughout the rest of the 11-storey building.
The liquid should have been removed during campaigns to remove PCBS from buildings in the 1980s and 1990s, according to Betts. Betts has also pledged that they will be contacted the owners of the building to launch a thorough audit of the lights and equipment of the building. If any PCBs or any Hazardous Materials and Substances, are found they will be removed using the proper procedures.
Approximately 60 workers were evacuated from the eight floor, and were prohibited from returning the next day.
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A mining company has received orders to clean up the site of a derailed train in the Northern Territory. Approximately 1,200 tonnes of toxic mineral ore copper concentrate has washed up from the train and into a river during a flash flood.
WorkSafe has declared that the material is a health and environment concern. Oz Minerals has been granted until the end of the month to transport any remaining material to the South Australian border. Oz Minerals was granted special permission to transport the ore in tarpaulin covered wagons, despite the practice being currently prohibited.
WorkSafe has allegedly relaxed the rules in order to ensure that the copper concentrate is quickly taken to the border. Concerns have arisen regarding the potential of wet season rain and storms washing the left over ore into the river.
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