WorkSafe inspection program looks at clothing and footwear retailing

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WorkSafe will conduct a further inspection program to look at safety standards in clothing and footwear retailing outlets throughout the 2014/15 financial year.

An initial inspection program in these sectors was conducted last financial year, and the areas of concern identified by that program prompted a follow-up.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the clothing and footwear retailing sectors were being targeted again because of the high level of risk from manual handling tasks.

“We were concerned to find last year that lost time injuries in clothing and footwear retailing during 2011/12 had risen sharply from the number recorded in 2009/10,” Mr Attard said.

“Lost time injuries in these sectors have risen consistently each year since 2009/10, with a 45 per cent increase during 2011/12 and a 48 per cent increase in 2012/13.

“It is also a cause for concern that more than a quarter of these injuries were classified as severe (resulting in 60 days/shifts or more off work), an 89 per cent rise in severe injuries between 2009/10 and 2011/12.

“Figures of this nature really do demand that we take a further close look at the industry to see what is going wrong and make sure employers have the information they require to make their workplaces safer.”

A total of 24 per cent of all notices issued during last year’s inspection program related to manual tasks.

The main areas of concern in the two sectors were retrieving stock at heights, insufficient storage facilities, inadequate movement within the store and storeroom, inappropriate trolleys and other equipment and unsafe work practices.

Inspectors will once again also target areas relevant to the retail industry such as security measures related to cash handling and hold-ups, workplace facilities, personal protective equipment and emergency procedures.

They will also look at other priority areas including new and young workers, electricity and hazardous substances/chemicals.

“Unions and employer associations in the clothing and footwear retailing sector have been contacted by letter to inform them of this year’s inspection program,” Mr Attard said.

“The inspectors will conduct inspections with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency, and employers can access this checklist on WorkSafe’s website so they will know what is expected if they are visited by an inspector.

“WorkSafe has an extensive schedule of proactive inspection programs concentrating on particular industries or activities or specific geographical areas aimed at raising awareness and providing information.

“We firmly believe that raising awareness with proactive programs is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness, but inspectors will take enforcement action during the program if necessary.”

Further information on this program, including the checklist, can be found on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

WorkSafe
Media release
09 Jul 2014

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