Listed in the 2012 environmental report as one of the worst case scenarios at Fairview is a spill of containerized material on land.
In the past year, we know of 18 terminal employees who have been sent to hospital for being exposed to a potentially hazardous material while on site.
Yet the response from DP World spokesperson is always the same.
“Our first priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees,” wrote the spokesperson from DP World, the terminal operator for Fairview, responsible for the Emergency Response Management System.
This was not the first time the company has used this exact phrase delivered by email to inquiring media.
The words were repeated in a media release on Dec. 21 and on Sept. 4 following hazardous materials incidents when terminal yard employees were sent to hospital for respiratory irritation.
Although we have pressed to learn what hazardous materials were released, we have only, so far, learned of the December incident involving Butyl Acetate, a chemical used for synthetic fruit food flavouring.
A hazardous materials team was flown in for this latest incident, and an external industrial hygienist — someone who doesn’t live in Prince Rupert — was sent for the other two situations.
The July 11 spill happened at approximately 11:30 a.m. and the external hazardous materials team started to conduct their site assessment at 6 p.m.
What happened during those six-and-a-half hours when Prince Rupert awaited the professional to be delivered to the site?
We may never know.
We are assured by DP World that their first priority is the safety of employees and the local community, but perhaps more urgency is in order.
Given the three incidents, doesn’t it make sense to have an internal industrial hygienist on site — and in the community?