WorkSafe inspectors target small business safety

Small businesses in 14 suburbs and towns across Victoria will be receiving special attention from WorkSafe inspectors over the coming year.

Small businesses in 14 suburbs and towns across Victoria will be receiving special attention from WorkSafe inspectors over the coming year.

Businesses in each area will be visited by inspectors over a five day period as part of WorkSafe’s Safe Towns and Safer Work Zones campaign, which has been running for nearly a decade.

“The focus of this campaign is to encourage small businesses to identify and fix basic safety issues,” WorkSafe’s strategic programs director Trevor Martin said.

“We’re not out to get anyone – we’ll be giving businesses prior notice that we’re coming and guidance on the sorts of safety issues we’ll be looking for.

“That being said, inspectors won’t be soft on safety. Over the last twelve months, nearly 2,500 legal notices have been issued by inspectors under this campaign – so businesses can expect us to be tough on enforcement.”

Over the next financial year, teams of inspectors will visit small businesses in Braeside, Melton, Mansfield, Moorabbin, Mildura, Campbellfield, North Geelong, Camperdown & Cobden, Preston, Daylesford & Hepburn, Hoppers Crossing, Clayton, Bairnsdale, and Doveton and Hallam (dates and local claim information below).

As well as basic health and safety issues, inspectors will also be looking for workplaces to meet their duties under the Accident Compensation Act – such as fulfilling their obligations to help injured people return to work.

While WorkSafe does not issue fines, it can issue improvement requiring safety improvement work to be carried out, and prohibition notices preventing work if there is an immediate risk to someone’s health and safety.

‘“We see the same kind of hazards over and over again – things like inspection and testing of electrical equipment, first aid facilities, and guarding on machinery. Basic housekeeping is also an issue that workplaces fall short on,” said Martin.

“Often when something goes wrong, it goes wrong quickly and with disastrous consequences. This is why we want small businesses to take a step back and look at common workplace health and safety hazards.

“We want businesses to sit down with the workforce, go through the potential safety issues, and work out what can be done to eliminate them. Once that’s done, put a plan together and get to work putting it into effect.”

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