Inspection program uncovers safety concerns in takeaway food outlets
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A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe to look at safety in takeaway food outlets has uncovered serious concerns with hazardous substances.
The inspection program involved inspectors visiting takeaway food outlets in Perth and regional areas of the State throughout the 2016/17 financial year.
WorkSafe Acting Director Grady Chaney said today the inspection program had been prompted by a significant number of lost-time injuries in the takeaway sector, along with the fact that young workers were most often injured.
“At the time the inspection program commenced, the sector was averaging 163 lost-time injuries per year, with 115 of these keeping employees off work for five or more days and 30 of these keeping them off work for 60 days or more,” Mr Chaney said.
“The majority of injuries – around one third of all injuries in the sector – were suffered by workers in the 15-19 year old age group, and this is also a major concern.”
A total of 152 takeaway food premises were visited during the program, 81 of which were the larger chain fast food takeaways. The remaining 71 were smaller takeaways such as fish and chip shops and lunch bars.
Inspectors issued 719 improvements notices, three prohibition notices and 41 verbal directions in the course of the program.
The greatest number of notices - 237 of those issued – related to hazardous substances. These were predominantly for a lack of risk assessment records and registers of hazardous substances and a lack of Material Safety Data Sheets and training records.
The second highest number of notices – a total of 181 – related to emergency precautions. These mainly concerned problems with evacuation procedures and first aid facilities and training.
Mr Chaney said the most common injuries in the takeaway food sector included soft tissue injuries, burns, lacerations, bruising and superficial crushing and fractures.
“Takeaway food outlets mainly employ young people, so they are the workers who are suffering injuries that can affect them for a long period of time,” Mr Chaney said.
“This inspection program uncovered some widespread problems with hazardous substances and emergency preparedness, so the industry now needs to pay more attention to these areas and ensure that risk assessments are carried out, emergency procedures are in place and that all workers are properly trained.
“We intend to maintain contact with the takeaway food industry and to carefully monitor the enforcement action taken during this inspection program.
“This program is part of a continuing series of proactive inspection programs looking at safety issues in a wide range of industries, activities and geographical locations.
“Their primary aim is to provide employers with information on how to comply with workplace safety laws, which we believe is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”
Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).
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