WorkSafe will continue its Victorian crackdown today, this time focusing its inspections on Bendigo construction.
With recent workplace incidents that have been labelled as nothing short of ‘avoidable’ by the occupational health and safety authority, this latest week-long undertaking will serve as a welcome reminder for those in the industry of the importance of being on top of health and safety standards.
Over the past five years in Bendigo alone, WorkSafe has recorded 2,370 injury claims that have come at a whopping $41 million in treatment and rehabilitation costs. The majority of these claims are from the manufacturing and construction industry.
If the issue of personal health and safety for those in this industry is not enough to gain the attention of those running unsafe worksites, there is only hope that the associated economic realities are.
“We constantly come across cases where companies are fined thousands of dollars for not addressing safety matters such as allowing workers to operate faulty machinery, not properly separating forklifts from pedestrians and other poor management of safety issues” says WorkSafe’s operation General Manager, Lisa Sturzenegger.
She goes on to explain that outdated industry procedures are adding an unnecessary risk to workers.
“We also find that 60 per cent of all Victorian workplace injuries are a result of dangerous manual handling practices,” Sturzenegger says, “businesses may not even be aware that their existing work methods put a strain on their workers”.
While businesses may not be aware of their faulty practices, they will most definitely will be expected to be aware of them in the future. In fact, around 200 businesses in the Bendigo area alone this week will receive a WorkSafe inspection, with a focus on health and safety compliances as well as return-to-work laws.
However, Bendigo is not the only region that will become a part of the health and safety crackdown. Echuca has already received a similar inspection period, which brought about 198 improvement notices, adding to the 2,118 improvement notices for safety and comprehension breaches state wide in the 2010/2011 financial period.
WorkSafe frustration is mounting as industry members continue to disregard the systems put in place in order to protect them. However, with health and safety education now in place, no further warnings will be implemented.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to make changes sooner rather than later” says Sturzenegger, “don’t wait until a WorkSafe inspector arrives, or a serious incident to address health and safety matters”.