8 Jul 2005

Fiji Labour Ministry advises employers over dump fire fumes

2:43 pm on 8 July 2005

Fiji's labour ministry has advised all employers to deploy staff for work elsewhere who have been affected by the highly toxic smoke emitted by a five-day old fire at the Lami rubbish dump in Suva.

Radio Legend says the acting director of occupational health and safety, Maciu Daurewa, has advised all workers in the area to wear proper breathing apparatus and protective clothing if they continue working.

The action follows a request to the ministry by the general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions, Attar Singh, to issue a stop work order under occupational health and safety laws.

Mr Singh says they are receiving reports from union members working at the Walu Bay industrial area that the smoke from the fire is making many of them sick.

This follows a health ministry warning to all residents living near the fire, to avoid direct exposure to the smoke.

The director of public health, Dr Timaima Tuiketei, says any residents suffering symptoms of nausea and vomitting must report to the nearest health centre.

Meanwhile, Angie Heffernan of the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity says affected residents and businesses should sue the Suva City Council for incompetence and negligence