Inspection program in retailing uncovers safety concerns

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A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe to look at safety in specific types of retail outlet in WA has uncovered concerns with electricity, falls from height, manual tasks and emergency precautions.

The program involved WorkSafe inspectors visiting retail stores including those selling clocks, craft goods, duty free, firewood, musical instruments, pets and pet accessories, swimming pools and tobacco products in Perth and regional areas of the State.

WorkSafe Director Sally North said today the retail sector had been identified as an industry with high rates of work-related injury.

“Retail is a large and varied industry, and we have been looking at safety in different areas of retail for some time now,” Ms North said.

“This particular inspection program has uncovered some concerns with safety in the areas of electricity, falls from height, manual tasks and emergency precautions.”

Inspectors visited a total of 111 workplaces as part of the program, resulting in the issue of 254 Improvement Notices and 28 Verbal Directions.

The largest number of notices issued – 60 notices - related to emergency precautions, with 24 of these concerning evacuation plans not having been developed and clearly displayed.

A significant number of notices - 49 - related to electricity, with most relating to the installation, maintenance and testing of residual current devices (RCDs).

A total of 35 of the notices related to falls from height, with 28 related to inadequate ladder safety, leading to the risk of falls.

A further 22 notices concerned racking and shelving, relating mainly to maintenance, safety and overloading of racks and shelves.

During this inspection program, Inspectors from the Retail and Services Team focused on priority areas including manual tasks, electricity, hazardous substances and slips, trips and falls.

They also looked closely at issues such as fire safety, appropriate use of ladders, new and young workers and fatigue management with respect to the number of hours worked.

“These proactive inspection programs have the primary goal of helping employers to develop policies and procedures that ensure employees are protected from workplace hazards,” Ms North said.

“The main aim is to provide information and increase awareness, but Inspectors will take enforcement action if they see workplace safety and health laws being breached.

“This program has given us a valuable insight into the current safety issues in the retail sector, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

“We firmly believe that raising the safety awareness of everyone in the workplace is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”

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

Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney, 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media queries only)
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Media release
30 Nov 2018

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