On 5 April 2019 a chemical storage and processing warehouse in the north-western suburb of Campbellfield in Melbourne erupted into flames. The fire was a toxic inferno that took several days to fully extinguish.
Evidence now available is that the fire was a direct result of the conduct of the Worksafe Authority of Victoria and the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria (EPA). This EPA/WorkSafe conduct put at critical risk the health and safety of workers, firefighters, other emergency response personnel and community members. Warehouse employees and firefighters were injured.
Self-Employed Australia has issued Section 131 notices (under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Victoria) to the WorkSafe Authority of Victoria requiring WorkSafe to:
- prosecute the EPA; and
- for WorkSafe Victoria to prosecute itself
for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Vic) in relation to the fire.
Today we publish on our website the evidence warranting the prosecutions. The evidence is sourced from court documents that have only recently become publicly available.
You will find here:
- Our summary of the actions of the EPA and WorkSafe;
- The 3,200 plus pages of court documents providing all the evidence;
plus two critical documents, namely:
Now that we have issued the Section 131 Notices, WorkSafe has legal obligations to investigate with a view to prosecuting. It is for the courts to decide if WorkSafe and/or the EPA are guilty.
The evidence is unequivocal, however, that both WorkSafe and/or the EPA:
- Knew that the Campbellfield facility had exceeded its legal limit for the storage of dangerous chemicals, thereby creating the fuel for the massive fire.
- Allowed, sanctioned and ordered the storage of illegal quantities of dangerous chemicals at the facility.
- Were complicit in ordering, allowing and supervising the transport of dangerous waste chemicals to the facility to the extent that the facility exceeded its legal licensed limit by a multiple of three.
- The EPA ordered the Campbellfield facility to process the dangerous chemicals even though it issued a conflicting order to stop processing. It was this processing that directly caused the fire.
The evidence irrefutably establishes breaches of the OHS Act and demands the prosecution of the EPA and WorkSafe.
More information soon.