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.
4 thoughts on ““unsafe” work images in the Adelaide Advertiser”
Good point Kevin, but Bluescope woud have done some good internal comms/IR if they\’d got their own HSRs and safety staff to ensure the right procedures were in place.
Farmsafe Queensland has been campaigning for years against media articles and advertising that depict unsafe work practices.
OHS professionals and regulators have to be careful to not be \”fun vampires\” – sucking the fun or risk out of activities, but I do think there is some credence in bringing \”bad\” safety photos to the attention of the photo editors or photographers.
I remember being contacted by a production company a few years ago to advise on the safety images in a TV ad for Bluescope Steel products. They wanted to make sure that the actors were clad in the proper safety equipment.
Extra care can be used when producing photos and media images and I believe some of the OHS regulators are beginning to take action on the issue.
Sports personalities are seen as heroes and role models to a lot of people and as such, should be aware that what they do, others will want to do exactly the same thing as they want to emulate their heroes. I think the safety authorities should keep an eye on the papers and deal with these cases as they arise. The evidence is right there, the organisations involved should be visited by the Safety authorities and, at the very least, be educated about these type of things.
If one of us \’non-model\’ types did that, we would be facing a written warning or even dismissal for an unsafe act. It just seems that safety is still \”something we do at work because we have to\”, and this is the frustrating thing that I see quite often as a safety educator.
Maybe we could educate the reporters about safety and make them \’eyes and ears\’ for the regulators. Getting these sports and media personalities to start spreading the news about safety might get the message circulated a little better.