15 January 2016

Safety the priority in bushfire response

Alcoa strongly rejects claims by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) that the company compromised the safety and wellbeing of its employees during the Waroona bushfire last week.
Simon Butterworth, Chief Operating Officer, Alcoa Refining, said the company had been operating under extraordinary circumstances since last Wednesday when the fire threatened the Wagerup Refinery.

“The safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the fire response was paramount.

“A crisis management centre was established at Alcoa’s office in Pinjarra, with senior staff rostered to coordinate activities. A senior staff member was also stationed in Waroona to liaise with fire authorities on a 24 hour basis.

“All transportation of employees to and from the refinery on Thursday and Friday was undertaken only after permission was granted by the authorities, and buses taking workers in and out were escorted by Department of Fire and Emergency personnel.

“The refinery did not operate “as normal”. Production was significantly reduced and only the staff required to ensure minimum safe operating conditions remained in the refinery.

“The great majority of our employees displayed tremendous commitment and professionalism during this difficult time. I am very proud and very appreciative of their efforts,” said Mr Butterworth.

Operations at the Wagerup Refinery have now been restored. Personnel at the plant continue to undertake repairs and fire clean-up activities. Production at the Willowdale bauxite mine has resumed in a limited capacity.

Media contact: Brian Doy on 0404 800 690 or brian.doy@alcoa.com.au