Inspections highlight challenges of OSH obligations

Worksafe, a division of the newly created Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has recently completed a series of inspection projects for select industry groups.

The project’s focus was to assist employers in the respective industries meet their OSH duty of care responsibilities through the provision of information and ensure employers understand their obligations under the OSH legislation.

Workplaces that fell into the industry groups selected were chosen at random for inspection with emphasis placed on Worksafe’s priority areas and industry specific hazards such as mobile plant, manual tasks and falls from height to name a few.

Industry groups selected were as follows:

  • Good and equipment rental and hiring
  • Commercial Cleaning
  • Pubs, Taverns and Bars
  • Plant / Mobile Plant in Retail and Transport

A total of 573 workplaces were visited with the most commonly used form of enforcement action being improvement notices totalling over 3100.

To assist workplaces improve their safe systems of work, Worksafe provided to employers visited general and industry specific information.

Of interest was the type of risk areas that improvement notices were issued to across the four industry groups. The top three in order by volume were:

  1. Hazardous substances (624)
  2. Mobile plant (552)
  3. Emergency precautions (452)

These risk areas represent over half of all the improvement notices issued and while data is not available for the specifics of the improvement notices, it presents an interesting cross section of industry and the challenges faced by business in understanding their OSH obligations and implementing safe systems of work to reduce accidents and injuries in the work place.

Indeed, there are cases nationwide where workplaces have either been fined or were required to enter into an enforceable undertaking for not having the appropriate safe systems of work that led to an accident or incident in relation to the risk areas above.

As an example, an employer in NSW was required to implement a traffic management plan across multiple sites that involved monitoring and directing forklift and delivery drivers as part of an enforceable undertaking totalling over $450,000.

Not understanding your risks when it comes to OSH or not having appropriate safe systems of work can certainly place employers at an increased risk of the accidents and injuries, thereby increasing the likelihood of action taken by the regulator (Worksafe).

CCI is participating in a review of Worksafe legislation and will keep Members informed of any updates or changes.

► Need further advice? Contact our team of Safety and Risk Consultants today on 9365 7415 or email Check out our Safety for Supervisors course and equip yourself with essential safety knowledge.

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