Monday, May 14, 2007

AFL calls for closure of site after second tank collapse

Less than half the usual cable support, An off-shore contractor working at high speed with staff recruited through an exploitative guest worker program rather than experienced unionized Albertans - hard to believe anything could possibly go wrong...
CALGARY (CP) -- A second accident at a work site where two foreign workers were killed last month has members of the Alberta Federation of Labour calling for government action.

Delegates at the federation's biennial convention voted unanimously Sunday for a resolution calling for the immediate shutdown of the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. tank farm site 70 km north of Fort McMurray.

"We have between 10 and 12 other tanks that are being constructed by exactly the same contractor with the same building materials, with the same construction practices," he said of the contractor, Sinopec Shanghai.

"Workers may be putting their lives at risk by being there Monday morning."

Witnesses said a roof support structure inside the tank -- which is among several incomplete structures on the tank farm -- gave way around 6:30 p.m.

"I can't believe that this has happened three weeks after a similar tank roof crashed and killed workers," said Tim Brower, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 424.

"We're just very thankful that nobody was killed or injured."

Barry Salmon, also of the electrical workers' union, said employees at the Horizon site reported there weren't enough wires to hold the tank upright.

Ordinarily, 40 cables are placed around a huge oil container under construction, Salmon said, adding that workers on the site said this one had less than 20.

A spokesman for Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. could not be reached for comment.

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