WA: warning issued over child safety in workplaces

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Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 - 16:30
Industry news
National News
Western Australia

WorkSafe WA recently reminded employers to take steps to keep children away from hazardous workplaces during the school holidays.

Many workplaces contained hazards that could result in injury, and some even contained potentially deadly hazards, said WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh.

“Workplaces such as factories and construction sites are not suitable locations for children and, sadly, many children have been seriously injured or killed in workplaces such as these over the years,” Kavanagh said.

“Children and young people often end up in workplaces during school holidays – whether it be through necessity or as a “treat” – but employers need to give careful consideration to where children are permitted to go in workplaces.

“There are also situations where the child’s home doubles as a workplace, and care must be taken to be aware of children on holidays being in work areas where they do not normally go because they’re at school.

“Many children do not have the maturity or experience to understand hazards and their potential consequences, and some workplaces can present hazards of which even adults may not be aware,” the Commissioner said.

“Trips and falls can have very serious consequences for children if they happen around machinery or vehicles on farms or construction sites or in factories.

“Farms are often simultaneously homes and workplaces, and include multiple hazards from fixed and mobile machinery to chemicals and other hazardous substances.”

Kavanagh said construction sites can also present a number of hazards, from trip hazards and the risk of injury from building rubble to the risk of falls from height, and employers should consider fencing construction sites to reduce these risks.

“Even parents may not recognise the potential hazards facing children – so wherever possible they also need to consider avoiding taking children to work with them during the school holidays unless there are appropriate facilities for them,” he said.