26 September 2023

WorkSafe’s warning to lazy employers

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WorkSafe Victoria is warning employers who ignore well-known safety measures that they risk joining the 123 companies and directors fined for flouting workplace safety laws in 2022.

Executive Director of Health and Safety at WorkSafe, Narelle Beer said 14 of those companies were hit with six-figure penalties for breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, with the total of all fines imposed by the courts $5,588,750.

“Offences involving working at heights saw 35 duty holders prosecuted and fined,” Dr Beer said.

“This was followed by matters involving inadequate or absent guarding (23) and unsafe, or unsafe use of, machinery (18) and forklifts (11),” she said.

“Multiple employers were also fined for offences involving electric shocks, unsafe crane use and failing to keep young workers between the ages of 16 and 20 safe.”

Dr Beer said the data showed some employers still ignored their basic legal obligations when it came to using established solutions for common workplace safety risks.

She said the lack of care shown for some young workers was particularly shocking.

“Training workers in the safe operation of equipment, using a passive fall prevention device when working at heights, ensuring machines are appropriately guarded and maintained, and erecting physical barriers to separate pedestrians from mobile plant are all proven ways to reduce workplace injuries and deaths,” the Executive Director said.

“But having the knowledge is not enough,” she said.

“Employers must actively implement measures to make their workplaces safe.”

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