Issue 233 - SafetyNet 233
The VTHC OHS Unit welcomes readers to edition 233 of SafetyNet. The team at the VTHC hopes subscribers find the journal interesting and useful. We welcome any comments – email them through to Renata
International Workers Memorial Day – April 28
April 28 is the day when unions all around the world remember those who have died as a result of their work – and fight for the living. In 2012, this falls on a Saturday, and so the long standing commemoration event at the Trades Hall will take place at 10.30am on the morning of Friday April 27. The commemoration is jointly run by the VTHC and IDSA – the Industrial Deaths Support and Advocay group. We will meet at the corner of Victoria and Lygon Streets for a short ceremony. Everyone is then invited to a morning tea hosted by IDSA.
We will be placing more information on the website on events outside Melbourne. If you are unable to attend an event, then start thinking about doing something at the workplace. We'll put some materials and suggestions on the website over the coming weeks. For information on what's happening around the world, go to the Hazards International Workers' Memorial Day website
Asbestoswise website goes live
Asbestoswise, is the new organisation community based charity organisation, which brought together Melbourne's two asbestos diseases support and advocacy groups ADSVIC and AISS, provides information and support to people with an asbestos related disease (ARD). It also provides information to people at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Asbestoswise has an active volunteer based committee of management and a small dedicated staff. Asbestoswise has announced its new website is now live.
Another win for European asbestos workers
The Madrid Labour Court has ordered Spanish asbestos company Uralita to pay over €1.7 million (A$2.16 million) in compensation to 23 workers from its factories in Getafe and Ciempozuelos for 'failing to take necessary protective measures' against exposure and inhalation of asbestos. The Asbestos Victims Association (Avida) said it was greatly satisfied that the judgment had found the company guilty of 'not preserving the health of its workers.' 40 workers had brought proceedings against the company but of these, 17 were dismissed. However, Avida says the legal basis of the judgment recognises that Uralita was at fault in all cases and therefore will appeal the 'rejections'.
Another high-profile Australian dies of mesothelioma
Australian mountain climber Lincoln Hall died in Sydney last week from mesothelioma. He was 56. The world-renowned mountaineer was a member of the 1984 first Australian Everest expedition. In 2006 he made headlines around the world when he was left for dead on Everest, when, after summitting the mountain, he collapsed just below the summit and had apparently died, only to be found alive the next morning by climbers on their way up the mountain.
Source: The Age
In what is becoming a regular item in our SafetyNet, we thought our subscribers would be interested in a three-part series of recent articles Exposed: On the Job, about carcinogens in Canadian workplaces from Canadian news service CBC
Work-related carcinogens need more scrutiny The article poses the question: 'Why aren't workers better protected?' It was asked by a breast-cancer survivor who most likely contracted the disease following exposure to carcinogens in her workplace, a plastics manufacturer. When the doctor decided the lump wasn't a problem, the worker had insisted on a second opinion because of an unusual black mark. Further tests found she had Stage 3 cancer. Her own doctor had relied on her lack of a family history for cancer, age, asked about the cigarettes she smoked on and off, drinking and stress levels. But she had not been asked about the carcinogens she was exposed to at work. She says, 'I almost slipped through the cracks.'
Linking cancer and work: A tricky task This article explores the issues and problems related to tracking and measuring worker exposure to carcinogens in the workplace and the value of adopting a 'precautionary approach' – that is, if possible eliminating exposure, and if not, then reducing the exposure as much as possible – 'better safe than sorry'.
North's on-job carcinogen limits weakest in Canada. The third article in the series reveals that in working environments in Canada's isolated Arctic labourers can be exposed to amounts of carcinogens many times higher than the rest of the country. Some of the current and out-dated limits allow exposure up to 500 times higher than federal standard, a federal toxicology expert says.
Other related articles:
16 cancer-causing agents in Canadian workplaces The article has an index of 16 known carcinogens that CAREX Canada found are present in Canadian workplaces. The graph, based on CAREX data, illustrates the number of Canadian workers potentially in contact with the particular cancer-causing agent, and in from industries they come. It is highly likely that these carcinogens are also present in similar Australian industries. (see Cancer Forum, below)
Asbestos brake pad ban proposed It's perhaps not surprising to learn that asbestos-containing brake pads are still legal to use in some Canadian provinces, including Ontario, continuing to expose mechanics and others to the deadly carcinogen.
Asbestos in brakes: One community's struggle an article describing the struggles being faced by workers, mechanics and others who have contracted asbestos-related diseases in Tilbury, Southern Ontario, site of one of a few brake plants.
Don't forget: the ACTU/Cancer Council Forum on Cancer in the Workplace which is being held on Thursday May 3, at Rydges Swanston in Melbourne. The forum will focus on practical solutions for prevention. More information: Forum flyer [pdf ]
I'm health and safety rep (HSR) and I have regularly asked for feedback, assistance and input from members of my DWG. However, much to my disappointment, I have had no feedback, assistance or input from any of my DWG in regards to safety matters in the workplace. How do I go about encouraging broader participation in HSE related issues, and getting the members of my DWG to understand that safety is their responsibility also, not just the reps?
Unfortunately, the problem you speak about is a common one. Firstly, though, let me clarify with you that as an HSR, you have no extra responsibilities/legal duties: that is, your ONLY OHS responsibilities are those of a worker, like any other workers.
As the HSR, you've been elected/nominated by your DWG to be their representative in OHS matters - to raise with the employer any OHS issues they may have or that you have identified with a view to resolving these issues. Your employer has a duty to consult at least with you (and if he/she likes, ALSO with members of the DWG) on a range of issues ( see Sections 35 & 36 ) The other workers in the DWG need to understand what your role is: you are their spokesperson and things will not get raised, or resolved unless they speak to you, raise issues, and stand behind you. Read more on the Role of the HSR
I recommended that in order to clarify their role as HSR, reps organise two meetings when they got back to work after concluding their 5 day training: one with the employer/management rep and the other with their co-workers in their Designated Work Group. Here's the advice on the meeting with the DWG:
In order to carry out your role HSR, and achieve improvements in the workplace, your fellow workers need to understand what your role is, what you can do and what they should do.
They should not expect that, just because they have elected you as the HSR you will suddenly be able to perform miracles! Organise a meeting with them and go through the following points:
- Support you – for example if the employer asks them if something is a problem, either support what you have said, or refer the employer to you as their representative.
- Advise you about problems or issues.
- Record all incidents, and near misses.
- Understand the actions you can take and that they must support you (eg if you call a cease work they should stop work and not be intimidated.
- Know that you will be doing regular Inspections and to take this opportunity to talk with you.
If you have any OHS - related queries or questions, then why not send them in to Renata? Use the Ask Renata function on the website, and we promise you a quick and easy to understand response within a couple of working days at the latest. And it's free!
ACTU inquiry into Insecure Work exposes 'precariat' phenomenon
The ACTU's Inquiry into Insecure Work has finished its national public hearings with two days in Melbourne last week. The inquiry, chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe, visited every state and territory and heard from over 500 workers, community organisations, academics and unions as it investigated the impact of insecure work. Many told the inquiry they have few or no entitlements, little ability to plan their lives and almost no certainty about their long-term employment prospects. 'The inquiry aims to pursue solutions to the problem of insecure work, which now accounts for 40% of Australian employees, so it has been fantastic to go out into every corner of Australia and speak to those people who are most affected by the issue,' Mr Howe said.
An article in Melbourne paper The Age, says a new term has been coined for what is now a worldwide: the 'precariat'. The term describes the millions of people who live a precarious existence of social and economic uncertainty - who jump from one short-term contract or piece of casual work to the next. Apart from the uncertainty this creates in terms of income and planning for the future, working like this can have serious implications for the health of workers, many of whom find it very stressful. By the middle of the day, the article had attracted over 80 comments, so this is clearly an issue affecting many people.
A related article of interest by Veronica Sheen of Monash University, who appeared before the Howe review, appeared in the online journal The Conversation. In the article Dr Sheen explores the issue and discusses the findings of two related projects on women in low paid, insecure jobs which were undertaken in the past four years and what role social policy could have in securing a better future for working women.
ACTU welcomes abolition of ABCC
The Senate last week voted to end the Australian Building and Construction Commission in what the ACTU hailed as a win for Australian workers, ending seven years of biased attacks on unions and workers. ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said the ABCC was the last vestige of WorkChoices, and its abolition was long overdue. Mr Lawrence said 'Construction workers have been subject to extreme powers – including secret interrogations – which do not apply to workers in any other industry. Although the new Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate retains some of these coercive powers there are some safeguards on their use. We continue to believe the powers should be removed altogether and construction workers treated like any other employee.'
Mr Lawrence said the ABCC did virtually nothing about safety issues, misconduct by employers or sham contracting arrangements which avoid billions of dollars a year in tax, and claims about its impact on productivity have been highly exaggerated.
ACTU Media Release: End of the ABCC a win for workers but concerns remain over coercive powers
In more Senate news - Road Safety Remuneration Bill passed
According to Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), speaking from Parliament House, the passing of the Road Safety Remuneration Bill in the Senate last week means that all Australians can look forward to safer roads and truck drivers can look forward to decent pay and conditions. He joined families and truck drivers from across Australia thanking the Government for supporting the Bill: 'All Australians can reflect today that their Parliament has made a historic decision, which will make the roads that millions travel each day safer. The resounding vote late last night in the Senate in support of the Road Safety Remuneration Bill, together with the vote earlier this week in the House of Representatives, ensures that we can begin to substantially reduce the death and destruction on our roads by taking the pressure out of the truck cab.' Mr Sheldon said the union had campaigned for almost 20 years side by side with truckies, transport companies, committed politicians, families of people who were killed or injured in truck accidents and communities across Australia for the legislation.
TWU Media Release: Safer roads for all Australians: 20 years in the making
Free training for small/medium businesses
Small and medium sized businesses in the hospitality, manufacturing and retail sectors are invited take part in a new WorkSafe-funded bullying prevention project – Top Down Bottom Up. The VTHC is supporting the project as are industry bodies, the AiGroup and the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Involvement is free and businesses who commit to taking part will receive:
free training for managers and supervisors
development and networking opportunities for staff
practical strategies to deal with bullying at work
free onsite coaching.
An information session will be taking place on Tuesday 20 April, 9.30-11.30am at Spring Street Conference Centre, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne. To register and for more information contact the project partners: Brian Martin (ph: 0400 939 800 or email ) or Deb Ferguson (ph: 041 021 2001 or email
ACT Greens launch bullying survey
ACT Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan, believes that workplace bullying in the Territory is frequent and underreported, and 'victims are unhappy with the existing avenues of address'. She referred to the recent CPSU What Women Want survey (see SafetyNet 232 ), which found that more than one in four female public servants, many of whom were based in the ACT, believed they had been bullied at work in the last 12 months. 'The evidence continues to grow that bullying in the ACT is frequent, but underreported, and that victims are unhappy with the existing avenues of address,' said Ms Bresnan. 'The ACT Government's data is limited to bullying incidents reported by employees. The Greens' bullying survey covers workplace bullying, school bullying and cyber bullying. It will gather important details on the prevalence of bullying, the extent of underreporting, and victims' attitudes towards the complaints resolution process.'
Floods: health risk of mould
In an article in The Conversation (a free online journal from The Conversation Media Group), two Monash University academics, Tom Jeavons and Michael Abramsoney, warn that while the recent floods in Eastern Australia are themselves 'dangerous', so are the 'health hazards associated with the indoor dampness that follows and, more specifically, the excessive mould it encourages.' The authors refer to a number of studies, and note that concern for the health of workers involved in the clean-up following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 led the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to advise that 'excessive exposure to mould-contaminated materials can cause health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mould or extent of contamination'.
Read more: Floods herald creeping problem of mould and growing health risks and Mould on the OHS Reps@Work site.
Another Queensland worker killed
In the last edition of SafetyNet we reported that three Queensland workers had been killed in the period, and it is with regret that we report on the death of another worker last week: a labour hire forklift operator was killed when he was crushed by the digging/drilling rig attachment of a toppling excavator. The death of this worker is the fourth construction fatality this year. The CFMEU's Queensland construction branch workplace health and safety representative, Andrew Ramsay, said early union investigations of the incident suggest the worker was killed while operating a telehandler, which had been assisting a large excavator. 'The ground that it [the excavator] was working on must have been too soft, so the gentleman was working in a telehandler, dropping concrete pads so the excavator could have a stable path to move on,' Mr Ramsay said. Queensland Workplace Health and Safety has issued an Incident Alert 'to remind employers and organisations to consider the effectiveness of their safety management systems in preventing such incidents at a workplace'.
International Union News
USA: Union-won law saves thousands of lives
A US union-won law to protect health workers from needlestick injuries and related bloodborne diseases has led to a dramatic reduction in injuries and related deaths. Health union SEIU ran a lengthy needlesticks campaign, which culminated with the introduction of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) in 2001. The law required the use of safer needles to limit the risk of workers contracting bloodborne infections. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital used injury surveillance data from 85 hospitals in 10 US states to examine the impact of the law. In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, they note 'there as a trend towards increasing rates of injuries before the legislation was enacted, which was followed by a drop of 38 per cent in 2001 when the NSPA took effect. Subsequent injury rates, through 2005, remained well below pre-NSPA rates.' The paper concludes: 'Our findings provide evidence that the NSPA contributed to the decline in percutaneous injuries among US hospital workers. They also support the concept that well-crafted legislation bolstered by effective enforcement can be a motivating factor in the transition to injury-control practices and technologies, resulting in a safer work environment and workforce.' SEIU director of health and safety Bill Borwegen said, 'As we experience the current anti-regulatory, anti-worker climate, here is yet another powerful example that contradicts the mythology... the wildly successful federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000 has prevented millions of accidental needlesticks among healthcare workers and has saved thousands of healthcare worker lives.'
Elayne K Phillips, Mark R Conaway and Janine C Jagger. Percutaneous injuries before and after the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, New England Journal of Medicine, volume 366, number 7, February 2012 [pdf ]. SEIU YouTube clipSource: Risks 547
Taiwan: Overwork kills workers
Recent deaths in Taiwan due to illness brought on by long working hours have highlighted once again the issue of overwork in Taiwan. The deaths of nearly 50 workers last year were blamed on working more overtime than allowed by law. This figure was as much as four times higher than the previous year, according to the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA). The right for workers to form and be active in trade unions is constantly restricted by the government. Nevertheless, workers in Taiwan continue to organise and campaign against excessive working hours.
BBCNews: Deaths spotlight Taiwan's 'overwork' culture and
Labor unions protest unpaid overtime, call for change in law Source: Jiselle's blog, AAWL Mini-news
Textile workers not only face low wages and long working hours, but in Bangladesh, they also face an increased risk of fires in their workplace. Bangladesh unions and global union federations are calling for immediate action following the fatal fire on February 25 at the Garib & Garib Sweater Factory in Gazipur, which killed at least 21 workers and injured a further 50. The Bangladesh National Garments Workers Federation (NGWF) has demanded the immediate arrest, trial and punishment of the owner of Garib & Garib. They have also demanded that compensation be paid to the families of each of the victims of Garib & Garib fire. Over the past two years major industrial struggles by workers have managed to secure some improvements in their wages and conditions. Responding to this pressure, companies are now signing up to a new 'Fire and Building Safety Agreement'. As with any other working condition, it will be up to the workers, and their organisations, to see that these agreements are respected.
ILRF Hails Landmark Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement with the PVH Corporation Source: Jiselle's blog, AAWL Mini-news
Noise linked to hypertension
Researchers from the China Medical University have completed a study suggesting that chronic exposure to occupational noise increases the chances of hypertension developing in workers who are already genetically susceptible to the condition. In a 20-year study of 912 aviation workers in Taiwan, the researchers assessed the relationship between exposure to noise and development of hypertension - abnormally high blood pressure, and a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks, among other outcomes.
Bing-Fang Hwang, Ta-Yuan Chang, Kang-Yin Cheng, Chiu-Shong Liu Gene–environment interaction between angiotensinogen and chronic exposure to occupational noise contribute to hypertension, [abstract ] Occup Environ Med 2012;69:236-242 doi:10.1136/oemed-2011-100060
The most recent edition of WorkSafe's Safety Express - the fortnightly e-news for the manufacturing, logistics, agriculture and retail industries - is now available to download. The edition has news items on young people, events in the industries, return to work and more.
WorkSafe targets delivery driver safety
WorkSafe has announced a project, underway until the end of June, which is targeting the safety of delivery drivers with inspectors visiting company offices, distribution centres and places where items are being delivered. The regulator says that online shopping and more conventional deliveries to shops, other business and building sites are taking their toll on Victoria's delivery drivers. WorkSafe's General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said approximately 60 per cent of the 1300 delivery drivers hurt each year were aged over 50 and nearly all (96 per cent) were males. 'Slips trips and falls, repetitive lifting, particularly during loading and unloading, getting in to and out of vehicles and restraining loads are among the main causes of these injuries which are predominantly to the back, shoulders and knees.' She said that while these injuries could be difficult to treat and long-lasting, but simple measures can eliminate them and remove avoidable costs to employers as well as long-term pain and suffering for the driver.
The regulator makes a number of suggestions which would improve the safety of drivers, including pre-delivery assessments, ensuring adequate mechanical aids, fitting tailgate lifters, and more
WorkSafe Media Release
Warning on safety in flood-hit areas
The regulator has also issued a warning highlighting safety issues for employers, workers and helpers in flood-hit areas. WorkSafe has urged people in areas hit by floods in northern Victoria to carefully plan recovery work to reduce the chance of injury.
'Our expectation will be that employers and workers will follow all appropriate procedures in line with workplace health and safety laws, while members of the public doing their own cleanup also need to take care,' WorkSafe's Executive Director for Health and Safety, Ian Forsyth, said. 'Many people will be keen to get their clean-up and repairs underway, but they need to understand and prepare for hazards and safety issues to prevent injuries. Plan and coordinate the work to be done and think about what will be needed. It's important to look after yourself and your workmates – they will often be family members and friends.'
WorkSafe Media Release
Safe Work Australia news
1 Contact Dermatitis report – cost to Australia over $33million
A new paper has been released by Safe Work Australia, which summarises two new reports on chemical exposure and dermatitis, and a report on wet work released in 2011, says there were 10,730 workers' compensation claims for occupational contact dermatitis (OCD) and similar conditions in Australia in the nine years to 2009. Of these, 3760 involved absences from work of one week or more, and, in 2008/09, a "typical" payment for a serious claim was about $3000. But the paper says this data is likely to underestimate the problem.
The paper also notes that found that up to 40 per cent of the thousands of workers regularly exposed to chemicals or wet work have not been provided with proper safety training.
Australian workers' dermal exposures to wet work and chemicals and the causes and characteristics of occupational skin disease: A summary of the findings and policy implications of three research reports [pdf]
2 Safe Work Australia Communiqué
Safe Work Australia Members met in Sydney on March 16. It noted that Tasmania is the latest jurisdiction to pass the WHS legislation which will have a commencement date of January 1, 2013. Members endorsed by majority six further Codes of Practice subject to minor technical and editorial changes. These are: Safe design of structures, Excavation work, Demolition work, Spray painting and powder coating, Abrasive blasting, and Welding processes.
These codes together with the six codes previously agreed (First Aid, Managing risks in construction, Preventing falls in housing construction, Managing electrical risks at the workplace, Managing risks of hazardous chemicals, and Managing risks of plant) will be sent to the Ministerial Council for approval as model Codes of Practice. A further five draft codes are to be released for public comment, including codes on Plant, Scaffolding and Traffic Management.
Members also agreed to seek public comment on proposed changes to the Workplace Exposure Standard for Airborne Contaminants for Synthetic Mineral Fibre (for an eight week period commencing 16 April 2012).
3 Ten year Work Health and Safety Strategy released for public comment
Safe Work Australia last week released for an eight week public comment period the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 - the framework for work health and safety in the nation. The Chair of Safe Work Australia, Mr Tom Phillips AM urged workers, employers and policy makers across Australia to actively be involved with the development of this strategy and to provide their views. 'All Australians have the right to return home from work safely every day,' said Mr Phillips.
216 Australians died from a work-related injury in 2009-10. The estimated total annual cost of workplace injury, illness and disease is more than $60 billion. In the 2008-09 financial year, this equated to 4.8 per cent of Australia's Gross Domestic Product.
Safe Work Australia Media Release
Comcare seeking award nominations
Nominations for the 2012 Comcare Work Health and Safety Awards are now open and close Monday 16 April 2012. Comcare says the award program provides the perfect opportunity for organisations and individuals in the Comcare scheme to showcase their achievements. As well as encouraging self-nominations, Comcare is asking for 'nomination suggestions': 'If you know of an organisation or individual who excels in workplace health, safety or rehabilitation in the Comcare scheme, we'd like to know about it.'
NICNAS, the federal regulator of industrial chemicals, has released the most recent NICNAS Matters [pdf] with articles on the Cost recovery review, National chemical safety update, Chemicals of security concern and an update on International chemical safety. Also of interest is the CEF Community Engagement Bulletin. The Bulletin has articles on Hydraulic Fracturing chemicals (used in 'Fracking'), a joint NICNAS/APVMA Symposium on Nanotechnology, and more. SafetyNet editor, Renata Musolino, is a member of the CEF, representing the ACTU.
From WorkSafe Victoria:
Incident Alert: Fall protection is non-negotiable [pdf]
Working safely with trees – this Information sheet provides assistance in implementing control measures to prevent and reduce work-related injury, illness or death.
Using equipment to access stock in the retail, storage and manufacturing industries.
Working Paper 86 — Decriminalisation of Health and Safety at Work in Australia [pdf ] - written by OHS expert academic Professor Richard Johnstone and issued by the National Research Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation (NRCOHSR) at the Australian National University (ANU). The paper looks at the approach to enforcement of Australian WHS regulatory agencies, with the author concluding that 'despite the rhetoric of stronger enforcement and more robust prosecution, the dominant ideology of [WHS] enforcement — ambivalence about whether [WHS] offences are 'really criminal' and viewing prosecution as a 'last resort' in the enforcement armoury — still dominates the approach of Australian [WHS] regulators'.
Also from the NRCOHSR, the latest two Work Health Safety Briefings;
Issue 2 (21 February) - Some Key Cases [pdf ], including discussion of the MUA/Patrick Stevedores discrimination against an HSR case recently reported in SafetyNet
Issue 3 (23 March) – Recent Research and Reports from the centre's monitoring of the peer-reviewed literature on work health and safety, and regulation 'Will be accessible from this page
Scaffold collapse company convicted and fined $170,000
Asian Pacific Building Corporation Pty Ltd been convicted and fined $170,000 plus costs last week after pleading guilty to two charges connected to the collapse of a scaffold in Prahran in February 2009. Magistrate Jan Maclean found the structure was overloaded with bricks and that the design was changed without reference to the designers or a qualified engineer. When scaffold collapsed, it miraculously resulted in only three injuries, but seriously damaged parked vehicles, brought down tram and powerlines and blocked Commercial Road for several days. Acting Director of WorkSafe's Construction and Utilities Division, Allan Beacom said the collapse had the potential to cause multiple deaths and was Victoria's worst-ever scaffold collapse. 'It is incredible that this incident did not result in multiple fatalities. The site workers were on their morning 'smoko' break and it is just good luck that a tram, bus or other vehicles were not directly under it.'
Asian Pacific had management and control of the site and contracted a scaffolding company to provide and build scaffolding while a third company provided and laid bricks. The bricklaying company, EGI Bricklaying Pty Ltd, was convicted and fined $100,000 plus costs in November 2011 in relation to the overloading, although it was not alleged that the overloading caused the collapse. Charges against a third company, SMS Scaffolding Pty Ltd, are yet to be heard.
Read more: WorkSafe Media Release Altered design & overloading contributed to Prahran scaffold collapse
Company fined $60,000 after worker loses finger
Food manufacturer Healthy Snacks Australia Pty Ltd has been fined $60,000 after pleading guilty of failing to provide a safe system of work and proper instruction, training and supervision which resulted in a worker losing a finger after it was caught in a machine in June 2010.
The worker crawled under a processing machine to clean its rollers after production had finished and, in what was common practice at the facility, removed the guarding. The machine remained switched on so the worker could clean the rollers while they were moving. The cleaning the cloth got stuck between the rollers and in trying to pull it out, the worker got a finger caught. WorkSafe's investigation found the company failed to: undertake any risk assessment on with the use of the machine; ensure employees did not clean the machine while it was operating and while it was possible to access dangerous moving parts; provide any standardised or consistent training and supervision to workers who cleaned the machine; and provide employees with standard operating procedures, including cleaning procedures for the machine.
WorkSafe Media Release
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