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WA: inspection program in retailing uncovers safety concerns

Wednesday, 9 January, 2019 - 11:45
Policy & legislation
Western Australia

A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe WA to look at safety in specific types of retail outlets has uncovered concerns with electricity, falls from height, manual tasks and emergency precautions.

The program involved WorkSafe inspectors visiting retail stores including those selling clocks, craft goods, duty free, firewood, musical instruments, pets and pet accessories, swimming pools and tobacco products in Perth and regional areas of the State.

WorkSafe WA director Sally North said today the retail sector had been identified as an industry with high rates of work-related injury.

“Retail is a large and varied industry, and we have been looking at safety in different areas of retail for some time now,” North said.

“This particular inspection program has uncovered some concerns with safety in the areas of electricity, falls from height, manual tasks and emergency precautions.”

Inspectors visited a total of 111 workplaces as part of the program, resulting in the issue of 254 improvement notices and 28 verbal directions.

The largest number of notices issued – 60 notices – related to emergency precautions, with 24 of these concerning evacuation plans not having been developed and clearly displayed.

A significant number of notices – 49 – related to electricity, with most relating to the installation, maintenance and testing of residual current devices.

A total of 35 of the notices related to falls from height, with 28 related to inadequate ladder safety, leading to the risk of falls.

A further 22 notices concerned racking and shelving, relating mainly to maintenance, safety and overloading of racks and shelves.

During this inspection program, inspectors from the retail and services team focused on priority areas including manual tasks, electricity, hazardous substances and slips, trips and falls.

They also looked closely at issues such as fire safety, appropriate use of ladders, new and young workers and fatigue management with respect to the number of hours worked.

“These proactive inspection programs have the primary goal of helping employers to develop policies and procedures that ensure employees are protected from workplace hazards,” North said.