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WorkSafe Victoria to hold Safe Towns campaign at Colac Otway Shire

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Colac businesses should be well into a review of potential workplace safety hazards ahead of the week-long Safe Towns inspection campaign which begins on 26 November.

Compared with other parts of the region, Colac Otway Shire has a high rate of serious workplace injuries with more than 900 work-related injuries reported to WorkSafe Victoria over the past five financial years.

Treatment and rehabilitation costs for those injuries exceed $18.4-million.

A team of up to 10 inspectors will be in Colac Otway Shire for the Safe Towns campaign. They will visit a range of workplaces checking common safety issues.

“What we don’t want to find is a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude,” WorkSafe’s Executive Director John Merritt said.

“Not taking the opportunity to review your situation, ignoring known hazards, taking shortcuts with safety, unguarded machines and unsafe work practices produces the conditions for disaster.

“The opportunities that are stolen, legal consequences and damage to reputation is enormous. These are often magnified in small communities,” Merritt said.

“In most cases safety improvements can be made at little or no cost. Machine guards have often been removed for cleaning or maintenance and not re-installed. In other cases they’ve been made on site while the inspector is there.

”Replacing faulty power cords, removing slipping hazards and properly storing chemicals are simple steps that can pay real dividends.”

WorkSafe does not issue fines, but where necessary Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices are issued.

Improvement Notices are a formal direction to make a safety improvement within an agreed period. Prohibition Notices are issued when there is an immediate risk to health and safety. Receiving a Prohibition Notice means a machine or work practice must cease.

Both notices require sign-off from a WorkSafe inspector before they are lifted and that is generally the end of the matter. Breaching notices often results in prosecution.

Information about workplace safety is available from WorkSafe’s advisory service.

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