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Two dead after Norske Skog gas leak

Friday, 25 May 2018
By Jake Nelson
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Norske Skog’s mill at Albury, NSW

Two workers have died and two more remain in hospital following a gas leak at Norske Skog’s paper mill in Ettamogah, near Albury NSW, yesterday.

The leak of what is suspected to be hydrogen sulfide gas on Thursday May 24 saw emergency workers called to the plant around 3pm. 18 staff were sent to hospital, and about 150 evacuated; a spokesperson for Albury-Wodonga Health told Print21 this morning that 14 have since been released, and one of the two remaining workers is in a stable condition.

Steve Murphy, AMWU.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) confirmed that it is looking into the incident, which Steve Murphy, NSW state secretary, described as a tragedy. “Our primary focus at this time is to support our members and their families. Our Union organisers have been on site and remain available to members,” he said. “We will be working with our union delegates and Safe Work to determine the cause of the incident and will make more comment once the circumstances of this tragedy become clearer.”

Safe Work NSW has also launched an investigation, but no further details have yet been made available.

184 people are employed at the mill, which has been shut down following the incident. Management was unavailable for comment. Norske Skog, Australia’s leading newsprint manufacturer, was recently acquired by a London-based venture capital firm, saving it from bankruptcy.

One Response to “Two dead after Norske Skog gas leak”

  1. May 29, 2018 at 1:30 pm,

    Fairgo
    said:

    This is indeed a tragic and avoidable situation. Deepest sympathies to the families and colleagues. Coupled with the avoidable death of Craig Tanner at DIC Australia in February; the manufacturing side of our industry needs to take a long hard and compulsory look at worker safety practices. It is totally unacceptable to have 3 deaths in 4 months – men who just went to work to do their jobs and didn’t come home. I call for an immediate and detailed investigation of all 3 cases, followed by enforceable upgrades of procedures – combined with jail terms for directors who cut corners and expose workers to such peril. The PIAA, AIG and AFPA should get involved – in fact push for changes.

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