WorkSafe inspection program looks at safety in tree lopping and gardening services

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WorkSafe is conducting an inspection program to look at safety standards in tree lopping and gardening services.

The inspection program will continue throughout the current financial year, and will cover both metropolitan and regional areas of WA.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today the tree lopping and gardening sector was being targeted because the work was hazardous and resulted in a high number of injuries.

“Each year in WA, an average of more than 130 workers in tree lopping and gardening services are injured badly enough to have to take time off work, and on average 14 of these are off work for 60 days or more.

“Workers in this industry face some specific risks in the course of their work, and statistics show they suffer mainly from soft tissue injuries, lacerations and fractures, with most injuries being caused via being hit by moving objects.

“Workers involved in tree lopping and gardening face serious hazards when working on elevated work platforms, climbing trees, using machinery such as wood chippers and chainsaws and noise.

“The tree itself, the weather and the terrain in which the work is being performed can also increase the risk, as can working in the vicinity of power lines.

“We need to ensure that employers have the information they require to make their workplaces safer, so inspectors will look at these specific areas along with more general areas such as hazardous substances, electricity, manual tasks and slips, trips and falls.”

Inspections will be conducted with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency, and this checklist can be accessed on WorkSafe’s website so employers will know what will be expected if they are visited by an inspector.

The checklist includes information on how to comply with workplace safety laws on:

  • General safety;
  • Traffic management;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Elevated work platforms;
  • Tree climbing;
  • Wood chippers;
  • Chainsaws;
  • Machinery and plant;
  • Manual tasks and slips, trips and falls;
  • Hazardous substances;
  • Noise; and
  • Electricity.

Unions and employer associations in the sector have been contacted by letter to inform them of the inspection program.

“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,” Mr Attard said.

“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 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

WorkSafe
Media release
08 Oct 2014

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