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Two cleaners employed by an Xstrata Copper contractor say water supplied on site gave them crippling stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
According to The North West Star the cleaners said they were advised to keep hydrated on the job but the water on-site gave them a bacterial infection.
"We were drinking from the stainless steel water cooler and we noticed the water was quite yellow, but it tasted okay and it was cold and wet," Laurie Costa told The North West Star.
While a doctor prescribed workers with antibiotics and said the incident was work-related, the cleaners allege Xstrata had refused to concede the sickness was work-related.
One worker told The North West Star they were around $3500 out of pocket because of medical fees, prescription costs, and uncompensated lost work.
"Xstrata’s own doctor said it was work-related and they’ve gone against that advice," they said.
"We shouldn’t be out of pocket when we were sick from their water."
Xstrata said it had investigated the incident and while its own tests had found problems with the water it did not detect E. Coli, which was blamed for the illness.
According to The North West Star Xstrata alleged workers had contracted a gastro condition at home.
Xstrata said in a statement it had implemented "corrective and preventative measures" for the problems on the water source in question.
“We cannot comment on individual cases as the workers are not employed by Xstrata. We have subsequently investigated the matter and discussed this with the contracting company," it said.
“Xstrata undertakes regular sampling of potable water onsite with programs in place to ensure filters and systems are appropriate and maintained."