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Another work place chemical poisoning

#1 User is offline   Tish 

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:00 AM

Chemically poisoned and seeking an apology
(Page is protected so can't do a usual copy/paste.)

***********************************************

EVERY month more than 2000 New Zealanders require more than a week off work following a workplace accident. For some the
physical healing is only the first step in their recovery, with emotional, financial and mental tolls lasting far longer.
In September 2017, 2,244 people suffered an injury while at work, amongst these was Wipatene Mason.

Mr Mason was chemically poisoned while seconded to Te Uru Taumatua, and he and his family have suffered for months following the incident.

Here, reporter Charlotte Jones speaks to the Mason family about their recovery and ongoing concerns.

Waking screaming through the night and convulsing in intense pain after being accidentally poisoned at work, Wipatene Mason and his family have suffered through some of their darkest times.

Mr Mason was poisoned by the hospital-grade cleaner Clinitol after nearly eight hours of prolonged exposure. As a result, he was hospitalised, experienced severe brain swelling, convulsions and partial blindness that lasted months.

A Department of Conservation staff member specialising in kiwi work, Mr Mason was seconded to work for Ngai Tuhoe’s tribal authority, Te Uru Taumatua, at the time of the incident on September 28, 2017.

Mr Mason had been asked to clean huts at the Waikaremoana conservation park after an outbreak of norovirus in the area. He believed he was using supermarket grade spray and wipe, instead he was using the hospital-strength Clinitol, with none of
the recommended safety precautions. As a result, he breathed in the vapours and allowed the spray to settle on his skin That night he began experiencing headaches that escalated to him being hospitalised four days after his original exposure.

“I was in agony, I was clutching my head in pain,” Mr Mason said.
“My wife and children had never seen me like that, they were terrified, they thought I was going to die.”

Doctors found Mr Mason’s brain had swelled to such an extent it was placing pressure on his spinal cord, he had no feeling in his legs, his blood pressure and heart rate were extremely high, and he was partially blind with extremely blurry vision.

Mr Mason said he had previously voiced concerns about Te Uru Taumatua’s health and safety procedures and had made complaints over several months but was told by Te Uru Taumatua’s chief executive Kirsti Luke “if he didn’t like it, he could
leave”.

“I had brought up issues like this in the past and other issues like the lack of training when using chainsaws and the fact we had no chainsaw kits. We had to strap them to our backs ourselves or carry them in one hand while climbing steep terrain, which is
extremely dangerous.”

While Mr Mason has now recovered physically, in all other ways – financially, mentally and emotionally – the toll is ongoing.

His wife, Donna, said when her husband was in hospital the doctors wanted to know what he had been poisoned with, they could see chemicals in his blood but needed to quickly identify them so they could correctly treat him.

“I went to see Kirsty Luke to ask what it was, and at first she said she didn’t know. She then said that it was just supermarket grade spray and wipe. When I asked if I could see Slade Strawbridge (the health and safety officer) she said I would need to
come back with a lawyer.

“I was so angry my husband was dying, and she was doing nothing to help. We ended up screaming at each other, I threatened to hit her I was so angry and all she could say was come back with a lawyer.

After Mr Mason was discharged from hospital the family would sit with him during the night. “He was still in so much pain, he would wake screaming and we would have to administer pain medication,” Mrs Mason said.

“Sometimes he would have had too much already, and we would just have to hold his hand. My teenage son would stay with him during the night too and it was really hard on him. He had never seen his Dad like that and his grades at school fell and it
affected him during his end of year exams.”

She said the situation following the poisoning had been hard on her and their family.
“He (Mr Mason) used to love holding his grandson and they were so close,” said Mrs Mason.

“But after he experienced the tremors and convulsions, our grandson was too scared to be held by him and it has really affected how close they are.

“Coming into winter he would usually chop firewood to heat our home, but he was so sick he was unable to.” “We had family members coming up to help us out, but we didn’t want to be a burden and instead used heaters to warm our home.”

“This led to some very-high power bills which are still impacting us financially. We have lawyer bills we still need to pay which means we can’t get loans, it’s been hard.”

“The stress on our family has been immense. Our three girls went to school crying every day because they thought their Dad would be dead when they came home. At the beginning of his illness he couldn’t even remember who they were and that really
hurt them. It’s hard to believe our own whanau did this to us and have no inclination to make it better.”
Mrs Mason said her husband was very whanau-oriented and before he fell ill, he spent lots of time with his extended family, would mow the marae lawns and help others with any physical labour they needed doing.

“He was the main soldier for the pa, all that he did he did for the hapu.

“Because he was unable to do this, he felt worthless and became depressed and he began to drink more than he should.”

Mrs Mason said they attended a mediation hui with Te Uru Taumatua and DoC. At that meeting, the Masons were offered compensation of $10,000 and payment of all the bills they had accumulated chasing personal grievance claims against Te Uru
Taumatua, none of which were successful.

This did not include their legal fees. The Masons refused the compensation offer.

“They put a price of $10,000 on my husband’s life, that’s not even enough to cover the financial hardship we faced while he was ill. They need to take responsibility for what they did, this is affecting everyone here. What I would like is for Kirsti Luke and the rest to come before the whole whanau and apologise.

“It hurts, because that’s our own whanau, we want them to come to the table and sort this out. The way they’re dragging it out is not good, they’re trying to stall and push it under the carpet, and we won’t have it. As we stand at the moment, we have
letters of support from the Hauraki Whanau, the Whakatane Whanau and the whole valley. They’re hoping we will give up and let it go away but we have the whole hapu behind us. As tangata whenua how they treated my husband was disgusting. Our
hapu whanau back us all the way.”

Mrs Luke, Te Uru Taumatua chief executive declined to be interviewed for this story, but a report prepared by the company’s health and safety advisor, Mr Strawbridge, in the aftermath of the incident and leaked to The Beacon exposes multiple failings by
the company.

The report, dated November 2017, noted there had been no health and safety procedure developed by Te Uru Taumatua at the time of the incident.

“Following the commencement of the secondment in December 2015, the two organisations met and agreed that Te Uru Taumatua would take responsibility for developing [health and safety] processes for the [Te Uru Taumatua’s environmental]
group’s activities, including the work that the seconded employees would be undertaking,” Mr Strawbridge wrote.

“Until this was complete it was agreed that DoC’s existing systems, processes and procedures would remain in place for the work the secondees were undertaking.
“March 2017 marked a major milestone for the transition of the Health and Safety system from DoC (risk manager) to Te Uru Taumatua’s Mango (electronic system). To date, the transition and development of a Te Uru Taumatua health and safety system are not yet complete.”

Mr Strawbridge’s report acknowledges that Te Uru Taumatua was advised of the
procedures for the safe use of Clinitol but despite this did not ensure staff wore the
required PPE items such as gloves, body suits, face masks, gumboots and eye
protection.

According to the report, the Clinitol was also stored incorrectly in the assets shed, which all staff had access to, instead of the chemical shed. The bottles were not clearly labelled, staff were not aware they were using a chemical which needed special use and when a staff member felt unwell while using Clintol there was no discussion around stopping the work or mitigation of concerns.

“While the exact cause of Wi’s (Mr Mason) illness cannot yet be determined at the time of writing this report, it is accepted that he was exposed to Clinitol as he (and others) were not wearing the required PPE,” wrote Mr Strawbridge.

“Clinitol is a hospital grade cleaner that requires the wearing of gloves and masks and to have the skin covered.”

Mr Strawbridge’s report also said there was no record the team had the appropriate chainsaw qualifications.

“Wi (Mr Mason) advised he was trained in basic cuts in DoC but had no refresher training offered since the start of the secondment (or other training), despite requesting this.

“Similarly, in regard to the chainsaw kits – these had been requested “some months previous”, but not provided.”

WorkSafe requested Te Uru Taumatua complete a Duty Holder’s Review following the incident and confirmed to The Beacon they are satisfied with Te Uru Taumatua’s observations and review of the incident. DoC was approached for comment on the issue but declined to comment as it was an “employment issue”.

When pressed, DoC instead placed all questions through under the Official Information Act and are yet to respond. However, just hours after being approached for comment by The Beacon, DoC asked Mr and Mrs Mason to attend a mediation
hui.

A date is yet to be set for this but Te Uru Taumatua has indicated to DoC that it will not attend.

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#2 User is offline   MINI 

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:06 PM

View PostTish, on 06 February 2019 - 12:00 AM, said:

Chemically poisoned and seeking an apology
(Page is protected so can't do a usual copy/paste.)

***********************************************

EVERY month more than 2000 New Zealanders require more than a week off work following a workplace accident. For some the
physical healing is only the first step in their recovery, with emotional, financial and mental tolls lasting far longer.
In September 2017, 2,244 people suffered an injury while at work, amongst these was Wipatene Mason.

Mr Mason was chemically poisoned while seconded to Te Uru Taumatua, and he and his family have suffered for months following the incident.

Here, reporter Charlotte Jones speaks to the Mason family about their recovery and ongoing concerns.

Waking screaming through the night and convulsing in intense pain after being accidentally poisoned at work, Wipatene Mason and his family have suffered through some of their darkest times.

Mr Mason was poisoned by the hospital-grade cleaner Clinitol after nearly eight hours of prolonged exposure. As a result, he was hospitalised, experienced severe brain swelling, convulsions and partial blindness that lasted months.

A Department of Conservation staff member specialising in kiwi work, Mr Mason was seconded to work for Ngai Tuhoe’s tribal authority, Te Uru Taumatua, at the time of the incident on September 28, 2017.

Mr Mason had been asked to clean huts at the Waikaremoana conservation park after an outbreak of norovirus in the area. He believed he was using supermarket grade spray and wipe, instead he was using the hospital-strength Clinitol, with none of
the recommended safety precautions. As a result, he breathed in the vapours and allowed the spray to settle on his skin That night he began experiencing headaches that escalated to him being hospitalised four days after his original exposure.

“I was in agony, I was clutching my head in pain,” Mr Mason said.
“My wife and children had never seen me like that, they were terrified, they thought I was going to die.”

Doctors found Mr Mason’s brain had swelled to such an extent it was placing pressure on his spinal cord, he had no feeling in his legs, his blood pressure and heart rate were extremely high, and he was partially blind with extremely blurry vision.

Mr Mason said he had previously voiced concerns about Te Uru Taumatua’s health and safety procedures and had made complaints over several months but was told by Te Uru Taumatua’s chief executive Kirsti Luke “if he didn’t like it, he could
leave”.

“I had brought up issues like this in the past and other issues like the lack of training when using chainsaws and the fact we had no chainsaw kits. We had to strap them to our backs ourselves or carry them in one hand while climbing steep terrain, which is
extremely dangerous.”

While Mr Mason has now recovered physically, in all other ways – financially, mentally and emotionally – the toll is ongoing.

His wife, Donna, said when her husband was in hospital the doctors wanted to know what he had been poisoned with, they could see chemicals in his blood but needed to quickly identify them so they could correctly treat him.

“I went to see Kirsty Luke to ask what it was, and at first she said she didn’t know. She then said that it was just supermarket grade spray and wipe. When I asked if I could see Slade Strawbridge (the health and safety officer) she said I would need to
come back with a lawyer.

“I was so angry my husband was dying, and she was doing nothing to help. We ended up screaming at each other, I threatened to hit her I was so angry and all she could say was come back with a lawyer.

After Mr Mason was discharged from hospital the family would sit with him during the night. “He was still in so much pain, he would wake screaming and we would have to administer pain medication,” Mrs Mason said.

“Sometimes he would have had too much already, and we would just have to hold his hand. My teenage son would stay with him during the night too and it was really hard on him. He had never seen his Dad like that and his grades at school fell and it
affected him during his end of year exams.”

She said the situation following the poisoning had been hard on her and their family.
“He (Mr Mason) used to love holding his grandson and they were so close,” said Mrs Mason.

“But after he experienced the tremors and convulsions, our grandson was too scared to be held by him and it has really affected how close they are.

“Coming into winter he would usually chop firewood to heat our home, but he was so sick he was unable to.” “We had family members coming up to help us out, but we didn’t want to be a burden and instead used heaters to warm our home.”

“This led to some very-high power bills which are still impacting us financially. We have lawyer bills we still need to pay which means we can’t get loans, it’s been hard.”

“The stress on our family has been immense. Our three girls went to school crying every day because they thought their Dad would be dead when they came home. At the beginning of his illness he couldn’t even remember who they were and that really
hurt them. It’s hard to believe our own whanau did this to us and have no inclination to make it better.”
Mrs Mason said her husband was very whanau-oriented and before he fell ill, he spent lots of time with his extended family, would mow the marae lawns and help others with any physical labour they needed doing.

“He was the main soldier for the pa, all that he did he did for the hapu.

“Because he was unable to do this, he felt worthless and became depressed and he began to drink more than he should.”

Mrs Mason said they attended a mediation hui with Te Uru Taumatua and DoC. At that meeting, the Masons were offered compensation of $10,000 and payment of all the bills they had accumulated chasing personal grievance claims against Te Uru
Taumatua, none of which were successful.

This did not include their legal fees. The Masons refused the compensation offer.

“They put a price of $10,000 on my husband’s life, that’s not even enough to cover the financial hardship we faced while he was ill. They need to take responsibility for what they did, this is affecting everyone here. What I would like is for Kirsti Luke and the rest to come before the whole whanau and apologise.

“It hurts, because that’s our own whanau, we want them to come to the table and sort this out. The way they’re dragging it out is not good, they’re trying to stall and push it under the carpet, and we won’t have it. As we stand at the moment, we have
letters of support from the Hauraki Whanau, the Whakatane Whanau and the whole valley. They’re hoping we will give up and let it go away but we have the whole hapu behind us. As tangata whenua how they treated my husband was disgusting. Our
hapu whanau back us all the way.”

Mrs Luke, Te Uru Taumatua chief executive declined to be interviewed for this story, but a report prepared by the company’s health and safety advisor, Mr Strawbridge, in the aftermath of the incident and leaked to The Beacon exposes multiple failings by
the company.

The report, dated November 2017, noted there had been no health and safety procedure developed by Te Uru Taumatua at the time of the incident.

“Following the commencement of the secondment in December 2015, the two organisations met and agreed that Te Uru Taumatua would take responsibility for developing [health and safety] processes for the [Te Uru Taumatua’s environmental]
group’s activities, including the work that the seconded employees would be undertaking,” Mr Strawbridge wrote.

“Until this was complete it was agreed that DoC’s existing systems, processes and procedures would remain in place for the work the secondees were undertaking.
“March 2017 marked a major milestone for the transition of the Health and Safety system from DoC (risk manager) to Te Uru Taumatua’s Mango (electronic system). To date, the transition and development of a Te Uru Taumatua health and safety system are not yet complete.”

Mr Strawbridge’s report acknowledges that Te Uru Taumatua was advised of the
procedures for the safe use of Clinitol but despite this did not ensure staff wore the
required PPE items such as gloves, body suits, face masks, gumboots and eye
protection.

According to the report, the Clinitol was also stored incorrectly in the assets shed, which all staff had access to, instead of the chemical shed. The bottles were not clearly labelled, staff were not aware they were using a chemical which needed special use and when a staff member felt unwell while using Clintol there was no discussion around stopping the work or mitigation of concerns.

“While the exact cause of Wi’s (Mr Mason) illness cannot yet be determined at the time of writing this report, it is accepted that he was exposed to Clinitol as he (and others) were not wearing the required PPE,” wrote Mr Strawbridge.

“Clinitol is a hospital grade cleaner that requires the wearing of gloves and masks and to have the skin covered.”

Mr Strawbridge’s report also said there was no record the team had the appropriate chainsaw qualifications.

“Wi (Mr Mason) advised he was trained in basic cuts in DoC but had no refresher training offered since the start of the secondment (or other training), despite requesting this.

“Similarly, in regard to the chainsaw kits – these had been requested “some months previous”, but not provided.”

WorkSafe requested Te Uru Taumatua complete a Duty Holder’s Review following the incident and confirmed to The Beacon they are satisfied with Te Uru Taumatua’s observations and review of the incident. DoC was approached for comment on the issue but declined to comment as it was an “employment issue”.

When pressed, DoC instead placed all questions through under the Official Information Act and are yet to respond. However, just hours after being approached for comment by The Beacon, DoC asked Mr and Mrs Mason to attend a mediation
hui.

A date is yet to be set for this but Te Uru Taumatua has indicated to DoC that it will not attend.



How horrible this unnessary toxic poisoning has put this family through hell. Where are ACC in this. Work injury. Would think the govt agencies could do something to assist in the proper fault to lay where it belongs and the necessary rights to be put in place to change issues not yet taken up to be sorted.
I hope things work out for the families or it will mean the govt monies given to the entity to train and hire these people to do the jobs is being used elsewhere.

It should be a govt responsibility to make sure all monies are accounted for and the workers are being trained and looked after by their employee. If not no more govt monies for that entity and charges of neglect to all those involed in allowing such alarming nightmare type injuries/accidents to take place.

Speeding recovery to the family and a good beef up to employer to treat there employees with the care they would expect for themselves.

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 10:27 AM

Contact Ben Thomson at Hazel Armstrong law he is the best in the business he will put you on the right track
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