An investigation by the national work health and safety regulator Comcare has slammed FedEx over its response to a worker at the Matraville depot who tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint lodged by the Transport Workers’ Union and found FedEx guilty of multiple breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act, including:
- Failing to ensure the health and safety of workers by allowing causal contacts of the original case to commence their afternoon shift
- Failing to adequately consult with workers about the work health and safety risks posed by the worker testing positive to COVID
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the investigation by Comcare was confirmation of FedEx’s cavalier attitude towards the health and safety of their workforce, and called on FedEx to urgently lift its game.
“It is against the law for a business to recklessly expose their workers to a health and safety risk – and that’s what this investigation has found FedEx management to have done” Mr Olsen said.
“When the TWU first raised concerns about this case, FedEx management accused the Union of making ‘inaccurate allegations’. This investigation by the regulator makes it crystal clear that the only ones telling lies are FedEx management.”
“FedEx management need to issue an apology to the workers whose health and safety they recklessly jeopardised, and give a commitment that this will never happen again.”
“While it’s disappointing that the regulator won’t be taking any further action against FedEx over these breaches, it’s clear that the days of FedEx putting profits first and worker safety last must end now.”
FedEx management were alerted at around 1:30pm on Monday 16 August that a worker at their Matravillle site had tested positive for COVID, but despite this allowed a shift change to occur as normal at 2:30pm. In that shift change, several workers entered the site who were later deemed close contacts and have since been ordered into self-isolation.
After worker health and safety representatives learned of the situation several hours later, they immediately directed all workers to cease unsafe work under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and contacted the TWU who lodged a complaint with Comcare.
Comcare’s findings come as around 4,000 FedEx workers across the country are voting to gain the right to strike, after FedEx tried to force through an agreement with less-than-inflation pay rises, inadequate superannuation increases and no guarantees against outsourcing.
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590