Recently SafetyAtWorkBlog pointed out several instances of the media showing unsafe work practices in images to support, often, unrelated articles. These types of photos are starting to gain the attention of OHS regulators in Australia.
On 13 July 2011, the Adelaide Advertiser published the picture in support of a sports article about a soccer and cricket player.
Forklifts are a regular cause of workplace fatalities and standing at height on the tines of a forklift is a serious matter, even when the vehicle is not moving. In November 2000, SafeWorkSA wrote in a safety alert that
“Standing on the forklift tynes, on pallets or in unsuitable stillages, are common causes of falls from height,…”
In 2006 a South Australian company was fined $A35,000 after a
“…female employee fell from the tines (forks) of a forklift she had been invited to ride on, and was then run over by it.”
A more recent example is from page 3 of the Adelaide Advertiser in an article in support of the opening of a fashion boutique. Perhaps significantly the online edition of the story had a different photo with the model, Adele, next to the wheelbarrow and with two workers looking at her.
It is possible to accuse OHS regulators or being over-sensitive on this matter but if a picture paints a thousand words, these photos are reinforcing inappropriate and unsafe acts and weakening some of the important safety campaigns in the Australian media.
Update 22 July 2011 PM
SafetyAtWorkBlog understands that the Adelaide logistics company at which the one of the Advertiser photos was taken has been visited by SafeWork SA inspectors.
After a meeting and discussion of the issue with management, a notice was issued seeking to ensure that all employees are aware of safe work practices in relation to forklift use and height safety.
The employer is likely to be followed up on the issue within the next week.