June 4, 2008
Clearlite fire shows decent Health and Safety crucial – EPMU
The value of worker participation in health and safety was proven today after a fire at iconic bathroom manufacturer Clearlite was handled by the book, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The fire, which occurred in the company’s fibreglass department, had the potential to be far worse than it was. It was dealt with quickly and safely due to Heath and Safety procedures developed by EPMU members and management.
EPMU national plastics industry organiser Rachel Mackintosh says the fact Clearlite has an active and engaged health and safety committee on site meant all workers were aware of how to deal with the situation.
“This is a New Zealand company that is doing everything right and that includes making sure workers get a say in their own health and safety.
“This fire could have caused serious injury and damage but instead it was contained by a decent sprinkler system, the evacuation went smoothly and all workers whose roles meant they were at risk were fitted with the right safety gear.
“Our members have worked closely with Clearlite management over the years to ensure they have the safest possible workplace and today that work paid off.
“It makes sense that workers should have a say in their own health and safety procedures because they are the ones with the most to lose but there’s a payoff for the company in that downtime and damage from events like this can be minimised.”
The EPMU represents 50,000 workers across 11 industries.
The EPMU’s internal surveying regularly shows health and safety is a high priority issue for its members.