25 June 2018

WorkSafe ACT hands out almost 250 safety notices in past 12 months

| Lachlan Roberts
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Work safety

WorkSafe ACT has had a busy financial year to date with almost 250 improvement and prohibition notices issued during 3,854 workplace visits across Canberra.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said inspectors were in workplaces and worksites across the territory every day to support safety and take action where appropriate.

“It has been a busy financial year so far and in terms of activity we are already tracking higher than the previous year in compliance actions,” Mr Jones said.

“At the end of May, there had been 2,248 proactive and 1,606 reactive workplace visits to ensure Canberrans have a safe place of work.

“There had also been two successful prosecutions and a number of significant charges laid, including the first manslaughter charge for a workplace fatality in the ACT, which is currently before the courts.”

To the end of May this financial year, WorkSafe ACT issued:

  • 77 prohibition notices which is up from 58 for the whole of 2016-17
  • 170 work health and safety improvement notices up from 140 for the whole of 2016-17
  • 23 infringement notices (totalling $82,800) up from 1 Notice in 2016-17
  • 2 prosecutions (Paul Papas – October 2017 – fines totalling $1,980 plus clean-up costs of $248,000 and Samarkos Earthmoving – November 2017 – $60,000)
  • Two significant enforceable undertakings entered (Glass Tech and Milin Builders) with a collective financial component of over $700,000

Mr Jones said the results were a reflection of the strong regulatory activity of WorkSafe.

“What the results don’t capture is the extensive education and engagement that occurs each and every day with employers, workers and industry, which prevents many safety issues before they even occur,” Mr Jones said.

“This pre-emptive intervention works hand-in-hand with enforcement action which WorkSafe ACT doesn’t hesitate to take where there are serious or repeated safety concerns.

“I’d like to send a reminder to employers and workers to continue to put safety at the forefront of activity each and every day so workers go home safely.”

Inspectors also visited 123 workplaces and spoken to 144 apprentices and young workers as part of the Young Workers and Apprentice Audit that commenced in March this year.

Mr Jones said young workers continue to be a “key focus” for WorkSafe as there is increased vulnerability with inexperience both in skills and ability as well as in knowing their rights and responsibilities when it comes to work health and safety.

WorkSafe ACT will report the findings of the audit throughout the year.

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wildturkeycanoe4:39 pm 26 Jun 18

Yet work fatality prosecutions went belly-up thanks to delayed and poorly conducted investigations. These are the ones that are important, but put in the “too hard” basket. What is a life worth?
A pat on the back is not deserved, despite the figures boasted above, while workers who lost their lives get no justice for their families.

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