Alumina safety slated

 SERIOUS safety breaches have occurred at the Queensland Alumina plant in Gladstone.

 QAL has been issued with seven Workplace Health and Safety improvement notices  and its contractors with two, after an inspection of the plant.

 The Department of Employment, Training and Industrial Relations ordered the check after a series of accidents at the plant in recent months.

 Incidents include caustic material spewing into the sky on three occasions, a fire and a turbine pump blowout.

 Workplace Health and Safety Central Queensland assistant regional director John McGarry said the issues identified by six inspectors were "very serious".

 "The improvement notices issued by inspectors allege that QAL is in breach of the Workplace Health and Safety Act," he said.

 "QAL has been put on notice and we will follow up to ensure the company has complied with the improvement notices."

 Inspectors ordered improvements to isolation systems, better communications, better training, restrictions on access to chemical work areas and repairs to grating  on walkways.

 In an incident at the plant two weeks ago a contract worker was seriously injured  after he fell more than nine metres from machinery. The man, employed by  Gladstone-based firm Mika Engineering, was taken to Gladstone Hospital,  transferred to Rockhampton, then airlifted to Brisbane for treatment. The fall is still  being investigated.

 On November 5, a production worker was badly injured when a nipple joint on a  high pressure hose failed. A stream of water blasted into his face.

 The man, married with four children, was airlifted to Brisbane for three hours of  surgery. He has been released and is recovering well but will have scarring.

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