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Ballarat Goldfields work safety award finalist

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Ballarat Goldfields has been named a finalist in this year's WorkSafe Victoria awards. The Minister for WorkCover, John Lenders, visited the mining company, to congratulate the mine managers and workers.

He said the WorkSafe Victoria awards recognised individuals and organisations that had made significant contributions to improving workplace health and safety.

"More than 110 entries were received for this year's awards and Ballarat Goldfields is in the running for the Best Strategies for Health and Safety Management Award," Mr Lenders said.

"To combat a range of potential health and safety dangers, Ballarat Goldfields has constructed a huge purpose-designed shed to store and examine large samples of rock extracted from drilling rigs used for gold exploration.

"The new premises has eliminated the risks associated with the previous workplace set-up and practices, including lifting, carrying and moving the heavy and awkward rock cores - a tray of which can weigh 20kg.”

Mr Lenders said such work practices exposed workers to the risk of muscular sprains and strains, one of the most common injuries suffered in Victorian workplaces.

Sprains and strains account for about 60% of injury claims received each year by the Victorian WorkCover Authority, and a disproportionate number of long-term claims.

"Some of the Ballarat Goldfields facility's other features include: suspended power cords to minimize trips and electrical hazards; and hydraulic trolleys and jacks to raise the rock cores, eliminating unsafe lifting practices. Sound-proofing of the cutting room has also reduced noise risks," he said.

Mr Lenders said the finalists were judged by a panel of representatives from a cross-section of industries, unions, employer associations and WorkSafe Victoria.

"The WorkSafe Victoria Awards will be announced in Melbourne on 27 October as part of Work Safe Week that runs from 23 to 28 October. This year hundreds of community events will be held across the state to highlight the importance of workplace health and safety,” Mr Lenders added.

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