Mobil safety record 'was worst in world'

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014

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Oil giant Mobil rated its petrol stations in Wellington as having the worst safety record in the world in 2012, an employment case has revealed.

The comments were made in a report into bullying allegations made by a former employee at the Mobil Karori service station, who claimed he was harassed by his new boss.

Vicente Alba managed the station for more than five years until May 2013, when he resigned.

He claimed Wellington territory manager Phil Rankin, who began in his role in August 2012, treated him unfairly, shouting at him in front of customers and angrily ripping an unauthorised poster off the wall.

Rankin denied shouting at or abusing Alba, but said that he sometimes raised his voice because he was hard of hearing.

Alba complained to Mobil's human resources department, which began an investigation into the incident.

Before it was completed, Alba decided to resign and took his claim to the Employment Relations Authority, where his claim was dismissed.

The investigation by Mobil - a division of oil giant ExxonMobil - eventually found Rankin's behaviour did not equate to bullying or harassment.

However, the report also stated there were issues Rankin had to address in relation to safety, as Wellington had "the worst safety record of any ExxonMobil territory in the world at the time Mr Rankin took over".

ExxonMobil lead country manager Andrew McNaught said the statistics referred to service stations only, and not to other operations such as exploring for, or refining oil and gas.

It was disappointing that several safety incidents in Wellington in 2012 had resulted in minor injuries to staff.

Since then, safety had been improved through various methods, and there had been no incidents last year or this year to date, he said.

Alba could not be reached for comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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