Waste recycling inspection program raises concerns

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A proactive inspection program looking at safety standards and issues in the waste recycling industry has raised some areas of concern.

The inspection program – carried out over the second half of the 2015/16 financial year in both metropolitan and regional areas of the State – looked at a wide range of hazards faced by workers in waste recycling.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the management of recycling products involved a whole range of hazards that could result in serious injuries.

“The work activities in waste management that result in injuries most commonly involve trucks, bins and containers, loading plant, traffic and ground surfaces,” Mr Attard said.

“Inspectors visited 54 workplaces as part of this program and issued 353 improvement notices, three prohibition notices and 16 verbal directions.

“The greatest number of notices issued related to mobile plant and vehicle movement, an area with which we have long had concerns.

“Many serious and fatal incidents have taken place involving mobile plant and vehicle movement, and consequently it is one of WorkSafe’s priority areas.

“A traffic management plan should be devised that addresses the risks associated with traffic movement, especially where vehicles and pedestrians interact in the same area.

“WorkSafe has devised a self-assessment tool for the safe movement of vehicles and plant in workplaces.

“A large number of the notices issued related to correct maintenance of plant and keeping proper records of the maintenance of plant, another crucial area given the risks associated with machinery and vehicles in workplaces.

“Another issue for which a high number of notices were issued is a lack of guarding on machinery or plant.

“This is always a major cause for concern because guarding of the dangerous moving parts of machinery is such a basic and easy precaution to take.

“Also highlighted by this inspection program was storage racking, and a high number of notices were issued in relation to safe working loads and the maintenance of storage racking.”

A number of notices were also issued in relation to:

  • Maintenance of fire extinguishers, hoses and blankets;
  • Registration and maintenance of air receivers;
  • Records for training in hazardous substances;
  • Testing of residual current devices (RCDs);
  • Manual tasks – information, instruction and training and risk assessment; and
  • Falls from height – edge protection and safe working loads on mezzanines.

“On average, almost seven notices per workplace were issued to the waste recycling premises visited by inspectors,” Mr Attard said.

“The notices covered a huge range of issues, so we plan to monitor the waste recycling industry closely in the future to ensure employers are making use of the information we have provided to make their workplaces safer.”

Further information

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

WorkSafe
Media release
10 Aug 2016

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