SafeWork NSW launches alpine ski safety compliance program

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Monday, 31 May, 2021 - 21:45
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW inspectors have begun this year’s NSW alpine ski area safety compliance program with an industry roundtable involving all snowfield operators to discuss the safe operation of passenger ropeways including chairlifts, surface ropeways and gondolas.

In the past seven years, SafeWork NSW has responded to 21 dangerous incidents related to passenger ropeways including eight serious injuries to passengers and visitors, and three serious injuries to operators.

“Following COVID restrictions on the 2020 snow season, as well as a focus on NSW tourism this year – it is expected this snow season will busier than usual in 2021,” said SafeWork NSW executive director, Tony Williams.

“We held this roundtable at the start of May to ensure all NSW alpine ski area operators know what their obligations are in relation to chairlifts, as well as giving the industry a report on incidents, and their causes over recent years.

“The approach to the season is the busiest part of the year for many of the operators as they undertake construction, upgrades, repairs and maintenance across their operations.

“It will see a surge of thousands of new workers in hospitality and tourism-related work arriving on the snowfields before the season begins, and we want to influence their attitudes to safety as they start their work.

“SafeWork’s dedicated teams of construction, WHS and engineering inspectors will be across the NSW Snowfields throughout the winter and will be periodically be visiting Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass.

“And while our focus will remain on the safe operation, inspection and maintenance of chairlifts and surface ropeways, we will also be ensuring compliance measures to minimise risks associated with COVID-19 and social distancing requirements,” Williams said.