Australia pays out $1.6bn in workplace claims
30/08/2011 - WorkSafe Australia is putting on more inspectors as we speak, because the problem is not diminishing. It is actually getting worse.
During the recent downturn in business, inspectors were handing out Improvement Notices, but were mindful that they could not push a business too far, for fear the business may collapse. Well, with the future looking rosier, they are not only coming to visit you very soon. But they are enforcing those notices, and where nothing happens over three months, they will take you to court. A hefty fine may be imposed, and then they will shut you down if you fail to act.
WorkSafe have also recently sponsored three CEOs to go undercover in their own workplaces, to see how health and safety is impacting their employees’ daily routines. It is very enlightening.
Recent major incidents
In one case a labour hire firm supplied a British backpacker for a warehousing operation. He drove with the forklift mast at full height, into the partly lowered roller door. The truck flipped back, then over onto one side. He was trapped under the forklift.
The other personnel quickly secured another forklift to raise the fallen unit in order to extract the man. He lost a leg.
The man had had only one week’s training on a forklift. The fines for both the labour hire company and the warehousing company were significant. The enquiry highlighted a duty of care to all personnel. These two companies failed miserably.
In another case, a young man with only two weeks on the job, decided to un-jam a pile up of cardboard from a carton-making machine. He reached in and his sleeve got caught in the mechanism. He got pulled into the machine.
Needless to say, the amount of suffering to the victim, his family, loved ones, friends, work colleagues, the company that hired him – the list goes on – could all have been avoided if the company had done a risk assessment on the machine, guarded it properly, and trained each worker on the dangers of the machine. It should have automatically shut off if a limb was anywhere near the machinery moving parts. It didn’t.
King Materials Handling has released a fortnightly blog on materials handling...