WorkSafe can be prompted to do industry inspections based on lost time injury increases. They may choose to undertake a proactive inspection program, making unannounced inspections to identify improvements required. Inspectors will work with the aid of a checklist and if they come across breaches of workplace safety laws, they will take enforcement action. Currently, the focus seems to be on scaffolding breaches – so be prepared.
What can happen if you fail the inspection or if an employee seriously injures themselves at work?
In June 2013, A Great Northern Hotel (GNH) employee in Kempsey, NSW, was enjoying a drink on his day off when he decided to clean the beer lines. He subsequently sustained serious facial injuries after pouring caustic cleaning fluid into a funnel, which decompressed a keg coupling that allowed gas to discharge and force the cleaning fluid back into his face.
GNH Directors David Richards and Scott Facey were found to breach the NSW WHS Act, failing to ensure the health and safety of their workers, including:
- Restrain gas cylinders
- Provide reasonable supervision of employees cleaning beer lines
- Prevent slip hazards in the cool room
- Have a system for complying with Safe Work notifications
- Maintain first-aid facilities
- Implement a hazardous chemical register or spill containment kit
- Have WHS consultation arrangements
- Tag or test electrical equipment
As a result of the breach, Richards and Facey agreed to spend $72,000 upgrading their cleaning systems with an enforced undertaking – the first of its kind in NSW!
Through their enforced undertaking, the Great Northern Hotel in Kempsey and other hotels owned by the directors now include: staff inductions, PPE, hazardous chemical registers, manual safety data sheets, contracted WHS consultants and a WHS management system.
Building a culture of safety is a vital aspect of eliminating workplace injuries. With the right communication in place, your entire workforce will become more aware of hazards and risks and realise the importance of a safe workplace.
Recovery Partners’ Safety Partnership Program helps employers minimise injury and reduce costs.
Our team of experienced WHS consultants keep up to date with changing legislation so you don’t have to while ensuring your due diligence requirements are met.
Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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