A worker who suffered severe chemical burns to his legs while employed on the State Government’s airport rail tunnel project says he feels abandoned and has endured months of pain and uncertainty.
George Deliu, 68, had skin on both of his legs stripped away and can no longer work or walk freely after stepping in water higher than his boot level that contained a toxic substance last June.
The grandfather was delivering concrete tunnel walls underground when he walked through water that was flowing through the tunnel.
He claims he was never warned about the dangerous substance in the water.
“You could see small bits of skin just everywhere, I couldn’t believe that I was looking at my flesh,” Mr Deliu told 9NEWS.
“The doctor walked in and had one look at me and quickly rang the ambulance and said, ‘I’m not touching you mate, you have a severe chemical burn’. (It was) all the way to my knees. I was met by a company representative in the medical department and (they) said, ‘You poor man, we put a resin in the water tonight and you copped it’.”
Mr Deliu is still in pain and has had his driver’s licence taken away because police say he is unfit to get behind the wheel.
His workers compensation insurer GIO will not cover the cost of him getting to hospital for therapy.
The trouble-plagued airport rail link, one of WA’s biggest infrastructure projects, is a joint venture between Italian contractor Salini-Impregilo and Perth-based NRW Holdings.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Mr Deliu’s employer Salini-Impregilo both released a statement to 9NEWS saying the case was with insurers.
The airport rail tunnel project has previously come under fire over other workplace safety incidents, including in July 2018 in which a 26-year-old New Zealand man was left in a critical condition after being struck by a flailing hose.