SafeWork NSW inspectors will be out across metropolitan Sydney this week targeting risks associated with moving plant and machinery often found in workshops, warehouses and manufacturing plants.
The most common factors leading to people being killed or seriously injured operating machinery include removing a blockage or jam while a machine is still running, according to SafeWork.
They can also arise in cleaning or maintaining a machine without appropriate safeguards or lock out/tag out procedures.
SafeWork NSW Executive Director Compliance and Dispute Resolution Matt Press said: “SafeWork has sent 58,000 letters with advice to businesses across Sydney who have been identified as working with machinery.
“Business owners should know that we are coming and there will be no excuses for putting workers’ lives at risk.
“No worker should be assigned to a machine until they have been trained in the operating procedures for setting-up, operating, cleaning and maintenance – machines can be dangerous if not handled properly and there is no room for short cuts.”
The manufacturing sector accounts for almost 10 per cent of workplace fatalities, with seven per cent of all workplace fatalities in 2021 associated with being trapped by moving machinery.
“Young and inexperienced workers are particularly at risk around unfamiliar machinery and SafeWork inspectors will be talking to businesses about properly training their workers and ensuring appropriate supervision.”
SafeWork NSW is continuing to investigate a number of recent incidents involving machinery, including a June 27 incident at a warehouse in Minchinbury, Sydney where one worker suffered fatal injuries and two other workers were injured.
SafeWork NSW’s regulatory priorities for 2023 targets risks found across the manufacturing industry, and includes issues relating to moving plant including forklifts, exposure to harmful substances and falls risks.
Businesses risk on-the-spot fines of up to $3,600 and $720 for individuals for putting workers lives at risk, or prosecution which can result in court ordered penalties in the order of tens of thousands of dollars.
Press said: “Since 2019, SafeWork NSW has responded to more than 540 workplace incidents involving machine safety.
“Inspectors will be proactively targeting workplace risks based on high-risk work and working with business and workers to improve safety.”
Picture: SafeWork NSW