New campaign urges safety improvements before inspectors visit

WorkSafe has launched a campaign urging safety improvements before an inspector visits.

The new campaign, ‘Any Day Now’ went and comes on the heels of the federal government’s annual benchmarking report, which confirms Victoria as having the lowest number of injuries per-thousand workers of any state or territory.

The Comparative Performance and Monitoring report compiled by Safe Work Australia standardises injury claims data and makes like-for-like comparisons across the states and territories.

It records a 30 per cent drop in the rate of workplace injuries in Victoria between 2004 and 2010.

WorkSafe’s executive director of Health and Safety, Ian Forsyth, said Victorian businesses had delivered a great trifecta: Victoria’s safest-ever and Australia safest workplaces; and Victoria’s lowest-ever employer premium for workplace injury insurance.

“It’s a great result and a credit to many employers, workers, health and safety representatives and consultants, but if were going to hold this position WorkSafe has to keep the pressure on.

“This campaign will help do that. It reminds employers that WorkSafe inspectors are out and about and that they are serious about safety,” Forsyth said.

The Assistant Treasurer, Gordon-Rich Phillips, said businesses which put their workers at risk not only disadvantaged themselves but also drove up the insurance premiums of good operators.

“Victorian businesses pay Australia’s lowest average workplace insurance premiums – 1.338% of remuneration, but industries with a lot of injuries will pay well above the average,” he said.

“That reduces competitiveness, increases the cost of running the business and pushes up costs for consumers.”

“While Victorian workplaces were the safest they have ever been and the rate of injury is trending downwards, more can be done to prevent workplace injuries.”

“We’re calling on Victorian workplaces to stop, think and take action about improving safety. Simple steps make a real difference to individuals, families and businesses.”

Forsyth said WorkSafe had recently just about doubled its rate of prosecutions, with 24 begun last month.

“There are nearly 100 cases now before the courts ranging from non compliance with safety improvement notices to major incidents where members of the public as well as workers have been put at risk and many fatalities.

“Many more matters are under investigation and with the cases we’ve run since May this year we’re running at a success rate of more than 90 percent,” Forsyth said.

“We take safety seriously and we will enforce the law, but business operators and workers can avoid prosecution by doing the right thing, consistently.”