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Government of Western Australian WorkSafe
Media Statements

Guidance note: Working in roof spaces

Between 2013 and 2016, two electrical workers died in roof spaces of domestic dwellings in Western Australia.

The hazards of working in roof spaces have also been highlighted in the Report of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP). Three of the four fatalities of workers involved in the installation of insulation under the HIP were caused by electrocution, which would have been prevented if the main switch had been turned off prior to entry to the roof space. None of these workers were conducting “electrical work”.

Workers in roof spaces can be inadvertently exposed to energised electrical installations whether they are carrying out electrical work or not.

New legislation will be coming into effect on 14 May which will require all workers performing work for reward at “domestic-type” premises, turn off all sources of electricity by opening the main electricity switch(es) at the main switchboard before entering the premise roof space.

To assist workers in complying with these regulations the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health has released a Guidance note Working in roof spaces.

Further information:

Inspection program looks at wine grape growing and winemaking

Issue date: March 27, 2018

WorkSafe is conducting a proactive inspection program to look at safety issues in WA’s wine grape growing and winemaking workplaces.

The program will continue until the end of 2019, and will include wine grape growing and winemaking workplaces in both metropolitan and regional areas of WA.

The program will involve inspectors from both metropolitan and regional teams, and will look at the safety issues involved in both farming wine grapes and manufacturing wine.

Transport company fined $58,000 over crushed hand and lack of licence

Issue date: 20 March, 2018

A transport company has been fined a total of $58,000 (and ordered to pay $5542 in costs) after a worker’s hand was crushed between two containers being moved using a forklift.

Mineral Trans (WA) Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace and, by that failure, causing serious harm to an employee, and was fined $55,000 in the Esperance Magistrates Court.

In addition, Mineral Trans was fined $3000 for allowing an employee to operate a forklift without holding the appropriate High Risk Work Licence.

Reminder on armed holdup procedures in workplaces

Issue date: 02 March 2018

WA workplaces are being reminded to ensure they have procedures in place to deal with armed holdups and aggressive behaviour.

The reminder comes after a number of armed holdups were committed over recent months.

WorkSafe Director Sally North said there were particular concerns for workers in retail premises.

“Retail premises that have extended opening hours are most frequently targeted,” Ms North said.  “These include service stations, chemists, bottle shops and takeaway food outlets.

“The targeted premises tend to be small, high-volume businesses in isolated locations with poor external lighting and that may be staffed by lone workers.

“Employers should ensure they are complying with WA’s workplace safety and health laws by having the appropriate procedures in place for dealing with violence and aggression in their workplaces.”

Choosing the right mental health training for your organisation guide – now available

Choosing the right mental health training for your organisation guide has been designed to help any workplace, regardless of industry, identify effective mental health training for specific occupational groups within an organisation. Training should be implemented as part of a broader workplace strategy to address health and wellbeing and to foster an open and supportive culture towards mental health.

This guidance was developed by the Mining Industry Advisory Committee’s Mental Health Safety Working Group (MHSWG) with feedback from industry and non-government organisations. This Working Group is addressing the recommendations in the Education and Health Standing Committee’s Final Report The impact of FIFO work practices on mental health.

Further information: 

Health care - Violence and aggression incident investigation checklist

Workers in the health care industry often face violence and aggression in the course of their work. Whether it is from the influence of alcohol or drugs, working with people who have cognitive impairments, or clients reacting to stressful situations, these hazards should be investigated as they risk the safety and health of workers.

WorkSafe has developed a checklist designed for employees, OSH Representatives or supervisors in the health care industry to assist with investigation of incidents resulting from violence and aggression from clients/residents or visitors. 

Read more

Inspection program looks at scaffold safety

Issue date 16 February 2018

WorkSafe is undertaking a proactive inspection program to look at safety issues with scaffolding across the State.

The program will continue for the next eight months, and will involve a wide range of workplaces throughout Perth and regional areas of WA.

Inspection program uncovers safety concerns in takeaway food outlets

Issue date 30 January 2018

A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe to look at safety in takeaway food outlets has uncovered serious concerns with hazardous substances.

The inspection program involved inspectors visiting takeaway food outlets in Perth and regional areas of the State throughout the 2016/17 financial year.

Full media statement

Emergency management for Western Australian mines - code of practice

In January the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety released a code of practice on Emergency Management for Western Australian mines. This code of practice provides guidance on emergency management systems used in surface and underground mines and quarries.

Road more

WorkSafe wins appeal on inadequate penalty

Issue date 25 January 2018

WorkSafe has successfully appealed a penalty given to a trucking company in December 2016 and it has been increased considerably.

Cleveland Freightlines Pty Ltd was found guilty of nine charges of failing to ensure records were kept of the work time, breaks and non-work time of nine commercial vehicle drivers.

Cleveland was also found guilty of six charges of failing to ensure that a commercial vehicle driver – who drove without a relief driver – did not drive for more than 17 hours without at least seven consecutive hours of non-work time.

The company was given global fines of $9000 for the nine record-keeping offences and $18,000 for the six driving hours offences in the Magistrates Court.

Further information

Inspection program looks at asbestos in plant

WorkSafe is conducting a proactive inspection program to look for the presence of asbestos in plant and machinery.

The program will look at a wide range of imported plant, from rail carriages to quad bikes and many other types of machinery to see if they contain any asbestos.

WorkSafe Director Sally North said today asbestos had recently been found in the friction plates of rail carriages imported from China.

“As a consequence of finding asbestos in these train parts, we have decided to look at a diverse range of imported plant and parts to ensure they comply with the requirements of Australian legislation,” Ms North said.

“The inspection program will involve several phases, but due to this discovery of asbestos in friction wear plates, the first phase will look at asbestos in the WA rail network.

Further information

Commercial vehicle drivers - Fatigue management

WorkSafe has recently released a fact sheet which provides an overview of the legislative requirements associated with commercial vehicle drivers. This fact sheet is designed to help commercial vehicle drivers and managers/supervisors in various industries understand this legislation.

It is important to note that both drivers and management have a role to play in making sure any risks associated with fatigue are minimised.

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Safe Work Australia - Managing the risks of working in heat - Guidance material

Safe Work Australia has published a Guide for managing the risks of working in heat.

“Heat is a hazard in many Australian workplaces, whether work is performed indoors or outdoors,” said Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter.

“With the onset of warmer months, now is a good time for workplaces to review their controls for working in hot conditions and take steps to ensure workers are safe.”

The guide provides practical guidance on how to manage the risks associated with working in heat, and information on what to do if a worker begins to suffer from a heat-related illness.

“Eliminating the hazard is the first priority for worker safety,” said Ms Baxter.

“Sometimes this may mean canceling or rescheduling work for when there are cooler conditions.”

The new guidance covers a range of tactics for managing heat in the workplace, as well as information on recognising and treating the most common forms of heat-related illness.

For more information, visit the Safe Work Australia website or contact your local WHS regulator for specific advice on how to manage the risks associated with working in heat in your workplace and industry.

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