A former AGL employee has allegedly been bullied, harassed and silenced in his attempt to expose high levels of corruption, dysfunctional management and serious safety issues, until now.
In light of last week’s major blackout which left the whole state of South Australia without power, a never-before-seen bombshell report from a former AGL employee has surfaced this week.
In his 9 page report, Philip Salt describes the horrendous manipulation, corruption, safety and management issues that AGL employees such as himself faced in the Torrens Island Power Station.
This document is further supported by a carefully prepared 25 page chronological report and 64 evidence files attached with numerous smoking gun examples.
Phil shares his unsettling concerns with former colleague, shop steward and the sole on-site safety valve expert, Shane Lockwood. Shane was unlawfully terminated in August 2015 after representing the site’s workforce regarding numerous safety issues especially enormous non-compliance issues surrounding safety valve maintenance at AGL Torrens.
On page 2 of his report, Phil makes an ominous warning, “Under the leadership of these 4 senior managers at AGL Torrens, it will not be surprising if someone gets killed in a preventable incident that would not occur under a professional management team.”
He expresses three major concerns in which he goes into great detail: dysfunctional safety management, essential infrastructure failure and what he terms as “long term high level subversion binding irrational negligence.”
His detailed report reveals that a 2012 explosion in one of the Torrens Island transformer rooms was preventable. The cause of which was a leaking roof identified 5 years before and which electricians recommended the maintenance department fix immediately. The explosion had a domino effect which resulted in significant plant damage and production loss. He says the financial loss for that year was $40 million, the roof fix, about $100 k.
This incident amongst many others including a hazardous asbestos ceiling, which in his opinion is a waiting disaster, fortifies Phil’s determination to ensure these issues are looked into appropriately.
“I have the impression there are many potential disasters waiting to happen at AGL Torrens because irresponsible budget targets eclipse important maintenance expenditure. The non-compliance of hundreds of safety valves on a site that produces huge quantities of super heated high pressure steam is a major concern. Safety valve failures can cause large dangerous explosions,” Phil warns.
With 8 high risk licenses and 20 years of experience, many of which were spent working 12 hour shifts on 13 day fortnights in a wide variety of environments, Phil is no stranger to the industry.
Through the 90’s, he worked approximately 6 years with WA company, United Construction whom he says is a “very successful company that has grown exponentially in 2 decades from 500 to 50,000” and “is especially committed to safety and is very professional in their continuous improvement programs and staff training.”
He also had some valuable experience working with Transfield Engineering based at Moomba.
Since 1999, Phil has been nominated and voted in by the workforce on numerous construction and maintenance jobs to be a workplace safety representative. He says that working at Torrens Island Power Station “was an experience of workplace culture shock”.
Phil has gone through his chain of command and raised these issues repeatedly with his superiors and the AGL management and each time has been suppressed and bullied into silence by the AGL legal team resulting in his subsequent unlawful termination in November 2013 after 34 months of employment (27 of which were filled with harassment and the last 6 pushed him to the limits).
This repeated bullying and harassment has taken a serious toll on his health both physically and mentally citing high levels of stress, fatigue, lack of stamina and adrenal deficiency (sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue).
“Digestion frequently failed and severe stress headaches were becoming a regular occurrence in late 2013. On one occasion a community nurse at Salisbury considered calling an ambulance because I was slurring my speech when at a Chemist complaining of a severe headache – needing to sit down as soon as I got there (prior to this time, I did not have a history of headaches). This and my doctors extensive efforts to assist me are on record. My doctor has written a letter for CentreLink explaining that I have a profound sleep disturbance called late insomnia,” the father of 6 stated.
He has also been warned by his doctor, that he may develop chronic fatigue syndrome and goes into detail about how this situation has affected his ability to provide for his large family.
In order to confirm his information efficiently with professional insight and understanding, Phil says that a truly independent investigation is necessary as the investigation conducted by WorkSafe SA is “completely inadequate.” Phil says that Susan Close (Labor Port Adelaide) and John Rau (Deputy Premier) have used this sham investigation to dismiss the case.
Phil and Shane complain the Australian Worker’s Union (AWU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) have clearly failed to represent the interests of their members.
He also lays fire on both major political parties asserting “they do not seem to be concerned about the issue of safety negligence, under maintenance and bullying at Torrens.”
A story that aired on 7 News’ Today Tonight in February 2015, revealed the history of corruption, extortion and bribery within the state’s unions is far reaching. Phil says his experience has led him to believe that this web of corruption and blackmail tactics also extends into the state government.
To get the ball rolling with an independent inquiry, Phil says, “I request please that responsible individuals in authority in SA use this document and the large collection of organised documents I have along with Shane’s information to address the very alarming issues that are being raised.”
Given the recent statewide power outage, is this alleged insidious corruption of AGL at Torrens Island just the tip of the iceberg? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Got a power company corruption story similar to Phil’s? Email [email protected] Your privacy and all information will be treated with the strictest of confidence.