8 April 2021

Canberra childcare centres put on notice for safety breaches

| Michael Weaver
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Childcare centre

Safety breaches identified exposed wires and the unsafe storage of chemicals. Photo: File.

Childcare centres in Canberra have been put on notice after WorkSafe ACT issued 179 improvement notices and two prohibition notices for work health and safety breaches between November last year and March 2021.

The prohibition notices were issued due to safety risks from exposed wires on an electrical power board and a damaged lead on a vacuum cleaner.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius said safety inspectors visited 45 childcare centres and issued the notices as part of a proactive campaign to improve worker safety at the centres.

“When our inspectors visited these centres, they found a range of work health and safety issues which put workers at risk,” Ms Agius said.

“Trending issues included not having procedures to safely store chemicals (such as cleaning products), no safety data sheets about hazardous chemicals, and not regularly testing and tagging electrical equipment.

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Ms Agius also said many centres had no plans to prevent violence in the workplace.

“We also found it concerning that a number of centres didn’t have procedures in place to handle situations of occupational violence. By having these processes in place, employers can help prevent or minimise the risks of violence and aggression towards staff members.

“Employers are reminded they have a duty to protect their staff, and one way they can do this is by assessing workplace risks and implementing safe systems of work.

“Everyone has the right to work in a safe and healthy workplace,” she said.

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