The Western Australian safety watchdog WorkSafe WA has urged employers to manage the movement and speed of vehicles to minimize injuries. They have also asked for employers to design and maintain workplaces to ensure workers are kept safe at all times.
Recently WorkSafe WA conducted an inspection in Perth and other regional areas and took into consideration how vehicles move and interact with people at various work sites.
The main focus of the inspections were manufacturing and wholesale industries, following concerns being raised about serious incidents that had occurred involving mobile equipment and pedestrians.
According to the watchdog’s director Joe Attard, the team visited 172 workplaces and issued 79 improvement notices, out of which 50 related to the safe movement of vehicles in a workplace.
WorkSafe said the other issues that resulted in notices include:
- Risk assessment
- Warning signs
- Moving vehicles
- Duties of employers
- High risk work licences required to operate some mobile plant.
According to the director many workplaces weren’t paying enough attention to spaces where vehicles and pedestrians interact.
He said employers should put rules in place for these areas, to avoid incidents,
“Strict rules need to be in place in these spaces to ensure the work environment is kept as safe as possible.
“I urge employers to ensure the movement and speed of vehicles is managed to minimise the risk of injury and that workplaces are designed and maintained to ensure the safety of operators and others.
“In addition, safe systems of work, communication systems and signage need to be in place, and everyone at the workplace needs to be adequately trained in these safe systems.”
WorkSafe WA subsequently released a safety and health alert containing more details about the factors leading to the recent incidents, as well as advice on actions needed to improve safety in workplaces.
Attard explained that a Guidance Note is also included on the safe movement of vehicles at workplaces. He advised all relevant workplaces to ensure they are familiar with the contents of the Guidance Note. Mr Attard explained:
“The majority of the notices issued related to the movement of vehicles and plant, so we plan to monitor the issue closely in the future to ensure that employers are assessing the risks in their workplaces and adequately addressing them.
“These proactive inspection programs are really all about providing employers with information on how to comply with workplace safety laws to make workplaces safer.
According to the watchdog, many property owners and managers were actually ignorant of their safety responsibilities, vehicle safety in particular.