UPDATED: Local Politicians and Union Leaders Call For Resolution At Sterling Fuels

Local politicians and union leaders are calling for a resolution, including senior levels of government stepping in, to address safety concerns at a west Windsor facility.

"An immediate investigation led by the Ministry of Transport who is responsible for this file under the Port Authority Act," said Windsor West MP Brian Masse.  "Marc Garneau has the capability and has the mandate to act to ensure the public is rest assured."

It follows 32 safety violation orders that were issued against Sterling Fuels by the Windsor Fire and Rescue Services.

Masse, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, Ward 2 Councillor John Elliott and Unifor members gathered on South St Monday morning to voice their concerns.

They were worried worker's safety is at risk and if an emergency happens at the facility, which deals with large amounts of fuel, necessary precautions are not in place to protect the neighbourhood.

"If you think Lac Megantic was bad, this would be ten times that size," says Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo who represents the 17 workers at the facility. "I'm trying to appeal to the individuals who are here and the workers and Sterling Fuels that they need to get off of their keister to fix the situation."


Members of Unifor Local 444 voice concerns about safety issues at Sterling Fuels. March 13, 2017 (Photo by Teresinha Medeiros)

Chiodo says the unsafe working conditions are unacceptable.

"When you take into consideration this entire property of 23-million litres of product and again with unsafe conditions, no evacuation plan, with no fire plan in place, you can't even get a fire truck on the property to douse the fire if a fire started on the property."

Chiodo says the union just wants an environment that is safe for workers.

The company has 30 to 60 days to comply with the orders. 

For its part, Sterling Fuels says it has spent more than a million dollars over the past few years on improving plant safety.

In a media release issued Monday afternoon, the company says it has hired the engineering firm recommended by the deputy fire chief to make necessary changes to address the orders.

Company Health, Safety and Environmental Manager Joel Gardner says it welcomes meetings with any level of government that may result in enhancing the safety measures that are already being taken.

Gardner says the company is confident the engineering company will keep them on track.

Improvements at Sterling Fuels over the past three years cover plant and dock safety, tank and loading arm emission control systems and personal and yard H2S monitoring devices.

Sterling Fuels on Russell St services the marine industry with petroleum products.