WorkSafe inspection program looks at independent supermarkets

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WorkSafe is undertaking an inspection program to look at safety issues relating to manual tasks in WA's independent supermarkets.

Workplaces included in the program include independently-operated supermarkets that are not part of national chains, including IGA, Supa IGA, Farmer Jacks and Food Works stores.

The program will continue throughout the remainder of the financial year in both metropolitan and regional areas.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the inspections would focus on raising awareness of potential safety risks and ensuring that employers had the information required to comply with the laws.

"This inspection program is part of an ongoing series of proactive inspections aimed at providing employers with information on how to make workplaces safer," Mr Attard said.

Manual tasks include any activity that requires a person to use their body to perform work, including manual handling, repetitive actions, adopting awkward or sustained postures and tasks that expose workers to vibration.

For supermarket workers, common risk factors arise from activities such as handling heavy, awkward or bulky loads, repetitive actions such as scanning at checkouts, working under time pressures and working in cold environments.

Risks can be minimised by using automated equipment or by re-designing or modifying the workplace or tasks, or by substituting safer systems of work.

Inspectors will undertake the inspections with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency.

"Supermarkets present a number of specific risks," Mr Attard said.  "Foremost among these are manual handling injuries suffered when handling heavy items or performing repetitive tasks.

"Other causes for concern in this industry sector include training, especially of young workers, and the use of mobile equipment such as forklifts.

"Like all WorkSafe's proactive inspection programs, this one aims to raise awareness and provide information, but inspectors will take enforcement action if necessary.

"We firmly believe that raising awareness with proactive campaigns is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness."

Further information on workplace safety and health can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at

Media contact:
Caroline De Vaney
9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).
Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter.

Media release
22 Nov 2012

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