News story

Safety crackdown in Australia

Thursday, 27 July 2006 ( #270 ) - MELBOURNE, VIC and BRISBANE, QLD, Australia
Regulatory authority WorkSafe Victoria has served 85 improvement notices and two prohibition notices on machine and manufacturing businesses in the town of Echuca, Victoria, during a four-day safety campaign.

Eight inspectors and Victorian police conducted checks on 97 manufacturing and repair businesses, retailers, farm equipment dealers and farms. Checks were performed on 70 trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Notices were issued regarding a lack of guarding on machines, forklift safety, blocked fire escape doors and inadequate fire protection measures, a WorkSafe statement said.

Some businesses received multiple notices.

The statement said inspectors would return to Echuca within six to eight weeks to follow-up on notices.

In another statement this week, WorkSafe Victoria warned businesses to report workplace incidents.

WorkSafe executive director John Merritt said concern about legal consequences could inhibit businesses from reporting incidents, but there were serious penalties for failing to report.

"Unreported incidents that are subsequently discovered are looked at seriously by WorkSafe and the courts," Merritt said.

"The law requiring notification of injuries is clear. It has not changed substantially in more than 20 years, and is enshrined in the Occupational Health & Safety Act."

WorkSafe currently has four cases of non-reported incidents before the courts.

Australia's Work Safe Week is from October 22 to October 28, 2006, and the Queensland and Victorian governments are hosting annual work Safe awards.

Queensland employment, training & industrial relations minister Tom Barton said the awards were a first for the state and recognised and shared safety ideas.

"The awards will publicly recognise and reward businesses, organisations and workplaces that have reached high standards of health and safety," he said.

"Many businesses are doing a great job and we're keen to find out how they have addressed safety issues so others can learn from them."

Queensland nominations close on Monday, July 31. Victorian nominations have closed and winners will be announced at a dinner during Work Safe Week.
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