06:49 pm, Monday 30 November, 2009
A Worksafe inspection campaign of manufacturing sites has uncovered some good standards in the field of occupational health and safety management. However, problem areas still persist.
Worksafe spearheaded the campaign over a two-week period starting October 12. Eleven inspectors were tapped to conduct over 90 inspections in theWangara industrial area. They issued a total of 261 improvement notices, four prohibition notices and 49 verbal directions in the course of the campaign.
WorkSafe Director of Manufacturing, Transport and Services Industries, Joe Attard, said the Wangara campaign was significant in that it concentrated on a geographical area rather than a specific industry.
“It targeted manufacturers of food, beverages and tobacco, wood and paper products, non-metallic mineral products, metal products, equipment manufacturing and other types of manufacturing in theWangara area.
“Inspectors visited a large number of workplaces and, although they were well received, enforcement action was required to ensure employers were complying with workplace safety laws.
Mr Attard said some of the areas of concern were forklift safety, electrical safety, working at heights, machine guarding and hazardous substances.
“There were also concerns about the number of workplaces issued notices for not having safe systems of work in place for the isolation and lockout and tagging of machinery and plant during cleaning and maintenance activities,” he said.
“Forklift safety and the safe movement of mobile plant continue to be among the significant issues in manufacturing workplaces, and safe systems of work also need to be in place around these activities.
“Falls from higher levels within workplaces are readily preventable, and it need not be difficult or costly to ensure that suitable edge protection is organised before a tragedy can occur.
“Electrical safety is always a serious concern, and some employers had to be reminded of the requirement for portable RCDs if employees work off-site.
“It is important that employers and employees in the manufacturing sector are aware of the chemicals and other hazardous substances in their workplaces, and they need to have access to information detailing the health effects in the event of exposure.”
Mr Attard considers the campaign a success.
“The Wangara campaign was a very focused and intense period for all WorkSafe inspectors who participated, and the extensive coverage of industry in the area contributed greatly to its success,” he said.
“Like all our proactive campaigns, the aim is to identify risks to the safety and health of workers in the industry and to provide employers with information on how to comply with workplace safety laws, though inspectors will take enforcement action if they find breaches of the laws.”
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