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Question: Port Pirie Lead Smelter

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of safety concerns at Nyrstar's Port Pirie lead smelter to the Treasurer in his role as Minister for Industrial Relations.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: There has been a reported series of serious incidents and 'near misses' at Port Pirie's lead smelter, owned by Nyrstar, over the last two years. This has prompted the Australian Workers' Union to call for improvements to safety procedure compliance at the smelter. In just two years, there have been four near-miss incidents that could have seriously injured or killed workers. This includes two molten lead explosions, one in May 2019 and one in November 2020. Three employees had only just left the impacted area before one of the explosions occurred.

An incident also has been reported where molten material and gas escaped from the newly built TSL furnace in 2019. Last year, a worker's leg fell through a roof, and in December another received superficial crush injuries. It is also reported that SafeWork SA is working with Nyrstar to improve safety performance, but the severity and frequency of these ongoing incidents raises some serious concerns. My questions to the minister are:

1. What is being done to support affected workers who have ongoing injuries and to support the mental health of other workers at the lead smelter who are constantly now worried about their own safety and that of their colleagues?

2. What follow-up actions have been taken by Nyrstar and by SafeWork SA in the wake of these incidents?

3. Are the government and SafeWork SA satisfied with the company's safety record and adherence to safety procedures?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:14): I share with the honourable member, as I am sure all South Australians do, concerns about any worker who has been injured at work or at their worksite or is concerned about safety practices at their particular worksite. In relation to the specific questions about the Nyrstar plant in relation to what SafeWork SA's involvement has been and continues to be, I am happy to take the honourable member's questions on notice and bring back a considered reply by SafeWork SA.

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