In March 2008, in Western Australia, a 22-year-old worker was crushed to death when a stack of veneered chipboard sheets toppled onto him. This sparked an audit campaign of the cabinet-making industry in 2009 by WorkSafe WA about which some results were released on 12 January 2010.
Such results are not often covered in this blog but the number of improvement notices provide a useful summary of the persistent hazards present in this industry and on machinery that is used in a variety of workplaces.
The media statement quotes WorkSafe WA Acting Executive Director Joe Attard, who says that
“The manufacturing industry – under which the cabinet making sector falls – has the highest number of lost-time injuries of all WA industries… During the course of this campaign inspectors issued a total of 295 improvement notices and four prohibition notices in the course of the 95 inspections, and three major areas of concern emerged.
“By far the greatest number of notices – 94 – were issued for breaches of the laws pertaining to the storage, labeling and use of hazardous substances in the workplace.”
“A total of 28 notices were issued for matters relating to the lockout and tagging of machinery and tools.”
“A further 26 notices were issued relating to the guarding of machinery.”
Chemicals, tag-out and guarding – well-established workplace hazards with traditional and well-known control measures.
A departmental spokesperson told SafetyAtWorkBlog that that although the matters were serious, the number of notices issued through the campaign was unexceptional.