|CN investigated for knowingly risking employees health|
|August 15, 2005
CN faced a third investigation over the derailment of 45-railcars at Wabamun, Alberta that occured on August 3rd. This one by the
province's labour standards watchdog. Alberta Occupational Health and Safety spokesman Chris Chodan confirmed that an investigator
did visit Wabamun “to go over what the working conditions were."
CN is under fire again, this time for allowing repair and cleanup crews to work for four days before disclosing to anyone, both the public
and their employees who were working at the accident site, that a potentially cancer-causing chemical leaked from one of the cars.
"They knowingly put these people (CN employees working on the cleanup) at risk and they need to be punished for doing so," said
Liberal labour critic Dan Backs.
Alberta Environment officials said tests confirmed fears that the mysterious “green goo” that gushed from one of the derailed cars is
pole-treating oil. Up to 90,000 litres of it was spilled. This type of oil contains polycyclic aromatic compounds that can cause skin
cancer. The human risk depends on exposure to the pole-treating oil and its concentration in the water.
CN made the clarification Monday, later admitting it had documents detailing the contents all along. This news triggered further anger of
CN by the Alberta public, where CN was again seen as not being honest in their dealings or communications over the Wabamun
An editorial that appeared in the August 11th Edmonton Sun said:
"It shouldn't have taken residents blockading the tracks to get CN to agree to share more information. And it was obvious from the loud
and raucous town hall meeting," following the derailment, "that CN was woefully unprepared to answer even the most basic questions that
local residents had about the impact the spill has had on their health and the health of the lake."
"And the revelation that CN knew there was also spillage of a potentially hazardous pole-treating oil, but didn't tell the province about it for
four days, is beyond mind-boggling."
"But it will take even longer for CN's corporate reputation to recover from the completely pathetic job it has done cleaning up this mess."
An investigation by Alberta Environment continues.