WorkSafe Victoria issues workplace wet weather warning

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WorkSafe warns employers, especially construction sites and farms about the dangers of working in the wet as the state weathers another winter downpour.

Builders and contractors are urged to constantly check their sites after any rainfall as the dry ground can quickly become soft, muddy and slippery.

“There were almost 4000 injury claims in the construction industry last year and wet weather can only exacerbate the dangers on-site,” said WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen.

“Soft ground should be marked with flags, bollards or treated with crushed rock until it dries out.

“Care should also be taken with mobile powered machinery such as cranes and elevated work platforms.

“Traffic should be stopped from entering sites until the ground is deemed safe.”

Farmers are also encouraged to think about the risks associated with the wet weather and inspect the environment before commencing any work and to seek assistance when recovering bogged equipment or animals and make sure they always have access to a mobile phone or radio.

“Inclement weather does not necessarily make workplaces unsafe as long as control measures are put in place to reduce any risks,” said Ms. Nielsen.

“Planning ahead and regularly checking on the changing conditions at all work sites helps to ensure all workers go home to their families at the end of the day.”

WorkSafe Victoria’s advice to employers to help manage wet weather hazards:

  • Inspect the work site to ensure ground stability has not been compromised and foundations are secure
  • Spread crushed rock on walkways, over mud and place boot scrapers at access points
  • Ensure plant operators are aware of the risks posed by waterlogged ground before commencing work
  • Ensure electrical equipment that has potentially been affected by water is taken out of service until inspected, tested and made safe
  • Identify soft ground and mark it with flags, bollards or other indicators as a warning to workers
  • Seek assistance when recovering bogged equipment or animals
  • Avoid employees from working alone and ensure they have access to a means of communication through a phone or radio.

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