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Union calls for an end to lone worker night shifts

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Unions have renewed calls to end lone worker night shifts, following WA’s first mine site death in two years.

Long running union concerns over Fortescue Metals Group’s safety standards have come to a head after the miner yesterday used its step-in rights to take control of its ore processing facility at Christmas Creek, the site of the death.

Fortescue yesterday announced it would be managing and supervising the facility, taking control from contractor Crushing Services International to “ensure the safe and hazard free operation".

The move comes just a month after 24-year-old electrical engineer Kurt Williams was killed at the operation whilst working alone on night shift.

Electrical Trades Union acting secretary Jim Murie said the union has had concerns about CSI for some time, The West reports.

"There never should have been an electrician working alone, at night, while the plant was in production mode,” Murie said.

"It's just too dangerous and we told them that before the accident."

Fortescue yesterday said the move to take back the management is being undertaken in co-operation with CSI and MinRes.

Launching legal action in the Federal Court, the union claims Fortescue delayed access to the site after the accident, denying ETU state secretary Les McLaughlan entry for six days.

Fortescue maintains it complied with its legal obligations regarding union access.

Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum’s investigation into the death is ongoing.

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