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WA: Inspection program uncovers safety concerns in pubs

Wednesday, 28 November, 2018 - 13:00
Policy & legislation
National News
Western Australia

A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe to look at safety in WA’s pubs, taverns and bars has uncovered concerns with hazardous substances, manual tasks and emergency precautions.

The program involved inspectors visiting pubs, taverns and bars in Perth and regional areas of the State over a two-year period from July 2016 to June 2018.

The program was prompted by a significant number of lost-time injuries in the sector, in particular serious and severe injuries, and the young age of affected workers.

Over the two years of the program, a total of 188 workplaces were visited, resulting in the issue of 1262 Improvement Notices and 11 Prohibition Notices.

The largest number of notices – more than a quarter of the total (368 notices) – related to hazardous substances. They included notices for a lack of training records, risk assessment records and registers of hazardous substances.

The next most numerous notices (197 notices) related to manual tasks – including a lack of information, instruction and training in avoiding injury, and notices regarding manually lifting beer kegs.

A total of 135 notices were for breaches related to emergency precautions – including failure to develop and/or clearly display evacuation procedures and not providing first aid training and/or facilities.

WorkSafe WA director Sally North said the results of the program were quite disappointing considering the number of young and itinerant workers in the sector.

“Pubs, clubs and bars are largely characterised by the high number of young workers and a high turnover of staff,” North said.

“A large proportion of workers in the sector are students and young people on overseas working visas.

“These workers can be particularly vulnerable to injury, and it is crucial they are given sufficient and relevant training, instruction and supervision in all tasks they will be required to carry out.”

As part of the program, inspectors looked at WorkSafe priority areas including forklift safety, electricity, falls from height, hazardous substances and machinery guarding.

They also focused on more specific areas such as slips, trips and falls from oil, water and food on floors, manual tasks such as handling kegs and heavy bags of food, cuts from knives, cutlery and glass and burns from oil, liquids and hot surfaces.

Other areas of focus included violence and aggression, beverage gas safety, safe use and movement of vehicles, exposure to communicable diseases for at-risk workers and first aid for burn injuries.