Safety inspection program uncovers safety issues in machinery repairs

A safety inspection program conducted by WorkSafe WA to check work safety where machinery and equipment are repaired has uncovered safety concerns, particularly those with hazardous substances, mobile plant, and emergency procedures.

Inspectors visited workplaces where repairs are carried out on items such as agricultural and farm machinery, lawnmowers, outboard motors, pumps and compressors, mining equipment and material handlers in Perth and regional areas of the State.

“One of the reasons for conducting an inspection program in this sector was an increase over the past five years of more than 80 percent in the number of injuries that kept employees off work for more than a day, and a whopping 230 percent increase in the number of injuries that kept employees off work for 60 days or more,” said WorkSafe Director of Industrial and Regional Chris Kirwin.

“This inspection program has uncovered some concerns with safety in the areas of hazardous substances, emergency procedures, and mobile plant and vehicle movement.

“The inspectors were also surprised to find more cases than they expected of workers operating mobile plant without being in possession of a High Risk Work Licence.”

A total of 128 workplaces were visited. There were 980 Improvement Notices issued, as well as three prohibition notices and 78 verbal directions.

There were 210 notices issues in relation to hazardous substances, with 105 of these concerning the lack of a register of hazardous substances and/or Material Safety Data Sheets.

A total of 160 notices were issued in relation to mobile plant and vehicle movement. There were 148 notices issued in relation to emergency procedures, with 57 related to a failure to develop and clearly display evacuation procedures.

“The number of workers the inspectors came across who were performing high risk work without the relevant licence was quite alarming,’ said Mr. Kirwin.

“As a result, inspectors will be paying extra attention to High Risk Work Licences in all workplaces they visit, and this sector in particular will be closely monitored.

“We firmly believe that raising the safety awareness of everyone in the workplace is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”

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