28/04/2016 - 12:41

Construction sites safer than cafes

28/04/2016 - 12:41
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The state’s workplace safety watchdog has commended construction sites within the CBD for keeping up good compliance with workplace safety laws, but could not do the same for restaurants and cafes.

WorkPlace handed out more notices to cafes and restaurants than construction sites.

The state’s workplace safety watchdog has commended construction sites within the CBD for keeping up good compliance with workplace safety laws, but could not do the same for restaurants and cafes.

WorkSafe inspected 225 restaurants and cafes across Western Australia over the past two financial years and handed out 1,364 improvement notices and nine prohibition notices.

Of the improvement notices, 498 related to hazardous substances, mainly for training and risk assessment records.

A further 375 notices related to emergency precautions, 183 notices related to manual tasks and slips, trips and falls, while 160 notices were for electricity issues including testing, labelling and installation of residual current devices, use of double adapters, maintenance of switchboards and power points, and condition of electrical cords.

Joe Attard, acting executive director of WorkSafe, a division of the state's Department of Commerce, said the restaurant and cafe sector had been identified as a sector with a high rate of lost-time injuries.

“These are all serious safety issues in workplaces, and for that reason we will maintain contact with the sector and monitor its statistics, and seriously consider further inspection programs in related sectors within the food services industry,” he said.

“The primary aim of all WorkSafe’s proactive inspection programs is to provide employers with information on how to make their workplaces safer and, as a consequence, reduce work-related injury and illness.

“However a large number of notices were issued during this inspection program, so we will need to monitor compliance levels in this industry into the future.”

While the restaurant and cafe sector raised concerns, WorkSafe found a high level of compliance work workplace safety laws at construction sites in and around Perth’s CBD.

WorkSafe visited 44 construction sites earlier this month and handed out 20 improvement notices and no prohibition notices.

WorkSafe director Christopher Kirwin said the watchdog would still keep a vigilant watch on the city sites to ensure they kept up the good standards.

“Inspectors also issued 195 verbal directions, but these are only used when the issue is relatively minor and can be remedied while the inspector is on site,” he said.

Of the improvement notices issued, seven were for problems relating to scaffolding and six concerned electricity.

A further three were for edge protection, while single notices were issued for occupational health and safety management plans, plant, work at heights and evacuation procedures.

“We were quite pleased with the results of this inspection program, but we plan to continue conducting these proactive programs to ensure the construction industry maintains its standards,” Mr Kirwin said.

“Inspectors will also continue to visit sites unannounced for both proactive and reactive inspections across metropolitan and regional areas of the state.”

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