Worker breaks legs during Barrow Island cyclone prep

A Barrow Island worker suffered severe injuries on Wednesday afternoon last week during cyclone preparations, according to a letter from union representation to WA Worksafe.

The AMWU, CFMEU and ETU have raised a list of concerns with Worksafe about the preparation and conduct of contractors in the lead up to Cyclone Olwyn.

The letter said that workers may have continued to work too late before starting preparations for the cyclone, and that on Wednesday afternoon a crushing injury was “caused by a Franna crane” leading to two broken legs and the possibility of amputation.

It is understood the worker was employed by John Holland, who have declined to comment but did not claim the report was inaccurate.

The unions have suggested the injury may be linked to high winds on Wednesday afternoon.

“At this early stage we are still establishing the veracity of the information we have received and we expect more information to come to light,” the letter read.

“However, due to the gravity of the situation and the seriousness of these early reports, we ask that you commence and investigation into these claims as a matter of utmost urgency.”

Other concerns raised included workers being sent back to work on Friday morning without adequate rest, insufficient medical care on the Europa floating accommodation vessel due to widespread seasickness, and the evacuation being left too late.

The unions suggested evacuations could not continue due to flooded access roads to the airport, however Chevron have said that birds crowding the runway had prevented 10 flights from leaving the island.

The unions were also concerned about procedures employed at the Wheatstone project, where workers had insufficient bedding provided while waiting out the storm, which led to workers using cardboard boxes to sleep on the floor.

“We have been disputing the adequacy of Chevron and Gorgon Project contractors ‘ cyclone procedure for weeks leading up to this event,” the letter read.

“We believe poor planning and a rush to keep a commitment to investors regarding production deadlines has contributed to workers’ wellbeing placed needlessly in jeopardy.”

Australian Mining contacted Chevron after receiving information about the accident in our comments section of a story about Barrow Island evacuation problems published last week.

The injured worker was named 'Peter' in the comment.

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