SafeWork South Australia and its Executive Director, Bryan Russell are reminding all businesses and employees of the need to fulfil their workplace health and safety duties.
According to Russell the 3 prosecutions handed down by the Industrial Court last week serve as a reminder to other employers and workers about the importance of WHS. Russell and SafeWork SA’s message to employers is to fulfil health and safety requirements before accidents occur, rather than waiting until there is an incident.
Although only one of the 3 prosecutions that occurred last week were related to the construction industry, the fact that there were 3 in one week is an indication that overall health and safety is being neglected.
The building company involved received a staggering $100,000 fine after it pleaded guilty to breaching Occupational, Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The incident involved a teenage worker who was injured when he fell down a lift shaft. It was the seventeen year old’s first day on the job at Henley Beach when he sustained several injuries.
The other 2 incidents occurred at a development company and a retail company. One incident involved a fall and an unprotected worker and the other resulted in the hospitalisation of a worker in an incident involving a forklift. It is also concerning that in all 3 incidents, workers were injured because of a fall.
An article posted on SafetyCulture.com.au explains more about the incidents and the warning issued by SafeWork SA,
In the same week, a development company pleaded guilty to breaching Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 by failing to ensure that a worker used harness and inertia reel to protect him from falling. The worker fell while working on a construction site. He sustained lacerations to his face, broken bones and some residual physiological problems.
The company was issued with a conviction and was fined $130,000 with a 30% discount ($91,000).
A retail company also pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 for an incident in July 2012 that left a worker hospitalised. He was lifted off the ground in a cage which was being lifted by a forklift. He overbalanced and fell to the ground and was hit by the cage that fell on top of him.
Falling is the most common cause of injury on worksites, yet many employers are clearly still failing to guard against fall hazards, resulting in the high number of worker injuries. That is why SafeWork SA has issued their warning and reminded all businesses of the possibility of legal action for any safety breaches or unsafe practices discovered on their work sites.
Russell went on to state:
“If found guilty severe penalties may be imposed by the courts.”
He said successful management of work health and safety can be achieved by following simple steps including identifying and addressing risks in worksites, consulting with workers and providing training and supervision to workers.
“Prevention is better than prosecution,” said Mr Russell.