A proactive inspection program looking at safety issues in fuel retailing outlets across WA has found high levels of awareness in some areas, but also some areas of concern.
The program, which included service stations selling all brands of fuel in metropolitan and regional areas of the State, was undertaken because workers were seen to be at risk on a number of fronts.
Service station attendants faced the possibility of violence and aggression on their shifts, said WorkSafe WA Acting Director Eve Speyers.
“Armed holdups are a very real risk for workers in service stations, and this inspection program set out to check that employers have procedures in place to respond to holdups or aggressive behaviour from customers,” Speyers said.
“The result was that employers and employees were, for the most part, found to be aware of the hazards associated with violence in the workplace, and most had control measures in place.
“Some workplaces were identified in which improvements could be made, and the appropriate action was taken to ensure these improvements were initiated.
“Workplace violence is a major concern in the fuel retailing sector, and this inspection program allowed inspectors to see the current industry practice and assess the methods developed by employers to protect staff from aggressive customers.”
During this program, inspectors also focused on the priority areas of manual tasks, electricity, slips, trips and falls, mobile plant and vehicle movement, hazardous substances and extended working hours.
In addition, they considered issues related to new and young workers and looked at industry-specific hazards such as appropriate use of ladders and fire safety.
Inspectors visited 80 fuel outlets, issuing a total of 162 Improvement Notices and 33 verbal directions.
The highest number of notices – a combined total of 32 notices – were in regard to the assessment of hazardous substances and the provision of information and training with regard to hazardous substances.
A total of 13 of the notices issued referred to portable ladders, 12 to evacuation procedures, 11 to provision of information on infectious diseases and ten to first aid issues.
“The main aim of these proactive inspection programs is to raise awareness and provide information to employers and employees to help them comply with workplace safety and health laws,” Speyers said.
“The risk of violence and aggression was the main safety issue we wanted to look at, and it was pleasing to see that the majority of fuel retailing outlets have procedures in place to deal with this hazard.
“However, we plan to continue monitoring the industry to ensure that it improves its safety management in the other areas in which we found some concerns, for example hazardous substances, ladders and evacuation procedures.”