Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones is reminding ACT businesses to make the safety of workers their top priority in 2018.
“As a new year commences there are often many factors that can increase the risk of safety issues on work sites and in workplaces,” Mr Jones said.
“This can include pressure to get jobs done which had not been finished at the end of 2017 or to ‘make up for the down time’ over the festive season; workers doing different roles or taking on other responsibilities as they cover for colleagues still on leave, or new or transitional workers in workplaces.
“On top of this, as we are seeing this week, high temperatures are also a risk factor, particularly for those working outside and for those workers in hot environments such as in hospitality.
“My message to employers and workers is to start the year with a strong safety focus and to continue this throughout 2018. We want to ensure that this is a year where all workers get to go home safely to their friends and family.”
Mr Jones urged construction sector employers to put safety first and ensure workers are properly trained. Supervision should also be provided to workers – particularly young workers, apprentices, those undertaking new responsibilities or new workers.
“For this sector it is also about ensuring Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are followed, that particular focus is provided to scaffolding and fall from height safety and that all workers on sites are empowered to identify and report hazards,” Mr Jones said.
“Employers are also reminded of the reporting requirements of notifiable safety incidents – WorkSafe ACT needs to be made aware as soon as the incident has occurred by phone or in writing. This will be a key focus area for WorkSafe ACT – to ensure timely and appropriate incident reporting.” (more detail on incident reporting can be found at: www.act.gov.au/constructionsafety
According to WorkSafe ACT, other industries such as retail and health care should focus efforts on the prevention of key injury risks such as slips, trips and falls and manual handling
“Injuries caused by these risks are unfortunately all too common and can have significant impacts on the wellbeing of workers. These areas will remain a key focus of WorkSafe’s proactive work in 2018 but we also need employers and employees to play an active role in supporting safety.”
With Canberra sweltering through another heatwave heat safety also needs to be high on the agenda.
“Employers should move high energy work to cooler parts of the day or provide greater rest breaks in cooler areas and workers need to look out for their safety and remain hydrated,” Mr Jones said.
“I encourage all workers and employers to watch this video which was produced by the local industry to support heat safety. Featuring local tradies it provides practical tips and important advice: https://vimeo.com/224153683.
“Together as regulators, employers, workers, and industry stakeholders, let’s make 2018 a year of safety,” Mr Jones concluded.