WorkSafe ACT has issued almost 250 improvement and prohibition notices, 23 infringement notices totalling over $80,000, enforceable undertakings of more than $700,000 during 3,854 workplace visits across Canberra in the past year.
ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said there had also been two successful prosecutions and a number of significant charges laid, including the first manslaughter charge for a workplace fatality in the ACT, which is currently before the courts.
“It has been a busy financial year so far and in terms of activity we are already tracking higher than the previous year in compliance actions,” Mr. Jones said.
“Our skilled inspectors are in workplaces and worksites across the ACT every day to support safety and take action where appropriate. At the end of May, there had been 2248 proactive and 1606 reactive workplace visits to ensure Canberra’s have a safe place of work.
“In addition to this, inspectors have visited 123 workplaces and spoken to 144 apprentices and young workers as part of the Young Workers and Apprentice Audit that commenced in March this year.
“Young workers continue to be a key focus for WorkSafe as there is increased vulnerability with inexperience both in skills and ability as well as in knowing their rights and responsibilities when it comes to work health and safety. We will report the findings of the audit throughout the year as this important work progresses.”
To the end of May this financial year the safety watchdog said it has issued:
77 Prohibition Notices which is up from 58 for the whole of 2016-17
170 Work Health and Safety Improvement Notices up from 140 for the whole of 2016-17
23 Infringement Notices (totalling $82,800) up from 1 Notice in 2016-17
2 Prosecutions (Paul Papas – October 2017 – fines totalling $1,980 plus clean-up costs of $248,000 and Samarkos Earthmoving – November 2017 – $60,000)
Two significant enforceable undertaking entered (Glass Tech and Milin Builders) with a collective financial component of over $700,000.
“While the above is a reflection of the strong regulatory activity of WorkSafe what it doesn’t capture is the extensive education and engagement that occurs each and every day with employers, workers, and industry, which prevents many safety issues before they even occur,” Mr. Jones said.
“This pre-emptive intervention works hand-in-hand with enforcement action which WorkSafe ACT doesn’t hesitate to take where there are serious or repeated safety concerns.
“I’d like to send a reminder to employers and workers to continue to put safety at the forefront of activity each and every day so workers go home safely.
“This must come from the top with Directors, managers, and supervisors showing leadership by demonstrating a positive safety culture. This will go a long way in meeting their legislative responsibilities,” he concluded.
Edited: Katie Carr