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VIC workplace safety crackdown

15-09-2010
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Small businesses in Melton, Victoria, were pulled up for more than 200 health and safety breaches during a five-day campaign by WorkSafe inspectors last month.

Over coming weeks, inspectors will return to the area to check that the breaches have been remedied and improvement notices complied with.

WorkSafe visited 206 workplaces from August 2-6, as part of WorkSafe’s Safer Work Zones campaign, which aims to help small businesses identify basic safety issues.

Inspectors issued a total of 203 improvement notices, which required workplaces to make improvements on health and safety issues ranging from storage of dangerous goods to securing storage racking.

“Although we wrote to the businesses and told them we would be visiting, we still had to pull them up on high number of health and safety issues,” Manufacturing and Logistics Director Ross Pilkington said.

“If you're not talking to your staff about health and safety, it's eventually going to catch up with you. Losing workers to avoidable injuries can have a big impact on the productivity of a small business.

“It's in your best interests to fix the issues identified by our inspectors - and, of course, inspectors will be back to check that improvements have been made,” he said.

Mr Pilkington said inspectors noticed specific issues around forklift operations – these included operators not wearing seatbelts, keys being left in ignitions when the forklift was out of use, and operators’ certificates of competencies not being upgraded.

Other health and safety issues identified by inspectors included:
• Unsafe storage of dangerous goods
• Lack of inspection and testing of service electrical equipment
• Inadequate guarding of equipment and plant
• Incomplete first aid kits
• Lack of maintenance of lifting equipment
• Unsafe manual handling/lifting practices
• Portable fire extinguishers and hose reels out of date on testing requirements
• Steel storage racking not secured to floor area, missing safety clips, and lacking load charts displays.

WorkSafe’s Return to Work Inspectorate also visited businesses, to check that duties under the Accident Compensation Act were being met.

Five improvement notices were issued to businesses for failing to make required return to work information available.

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