WorkSafe Victoria has started its 2007 Safer Work Zones program in Port Melbourne where information packs outlining an upcoming safety campaign was distributed.
WorkSafe Inspectors will visit small and medium sized business in streets bounded by Lorimer Street, Todd Road, Williamstown Road and Montague Street, including Fishermans Bend, from 5-9 March.
The information packs will be distributed by staff driving around the area in highly visible vehicles promoting Safer Work Zones and towing a Helping businesses work in the safe zone trailer.
The Safer Work Zones campaign aims to make Melbourne a safer place to work by focusing attention on a particular area and targeting smaller companies which traditionally have limited exposure to WorkSafe inspectors.
Between July 2001 and June 2006, there were 2567 workplace injury claims reported from workplaces in Port Melbourne, costing more than $33 million in treatment, rehabilitation and treatment costs.
According to WorkSafe, safer Work Zones concentrated on risks known to cause serious injuries and death and had successfully achieved improvements in a short period across a broad range of businesses and worksites.
Giving people plenty of notice and an idea of what the inspectors would look at, helps employers and employees meet their health and safety obligations.
The overwhelming majority of people want to do the right thing, but they do not always know what to do. WorkSafe’s role is to help people understand what’s expected of them and how they can protect their employees, co-workers, customers and their business.
Help is available from WorkSafe’s advisory service, where a wide range of information and publications on safety issues can be found.
Small and medium sized business can also apply for a WorkSafe-funded three-hour safety audit, which is carried out by an independent consultant.
Improvement or prohibition notices could be issued during the inspections. Improvement notices require work to be carried out within an agreed period. A prohibition notice means a work practice cannot continue or a machine be used until the immediate risk to injury or health is remedied.
By giving local businesses prior warning about this campaign, WorkSafe hopes that issuing of notices will not be necessary.
Having said that, WorkSafe will enforce the law when required, must be enforced, that will be done, but its preference is to encourage prevention rather than cure.
What will WorkSafe be looking at?
- What are the hazards in your workplace?
- Is there a process by which the employer and employees consult on health and safety issues?
- Is the workplace neat and tidy and clear of obstructions?
- Have steps been taken to reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls. Are staff wearing suitable footwear? Are steps well lit?
- Are physical barriers and guards in use to isolate people from machinery that is operating?
- Are pedestrians separated from forklift traffic or trucks?
- Have you considered options to prevent manual handling injuries? e.g. Are trolleys and other mechanical aids available?
- Have you controlled risks of falls from height?
- Do you have an up-to-date and effective safety evacuation plan?
- Are chemicals appropriately used and stored?
- Are storage racks suitable for the items held?
- Do forklift drivers hold a certificate of competency?
- Is electrical equipment tagged and tested?
- Are fire suppression measures adequate?
- Are refreshment and toilet facilities adequate?
- Do you have a return-to-work plan for injured employees?
- Is an If you are injured poster displayed?