A WorkSafe Victoria campaign targeting health and safety compliance in Bendigo recently found room for improvement after inspectors handed out 117 notices requiring businesses to act on breaches.
The safety improvement notices, which require businesses to fix a health and safety breach by a certain date, were issued for hazards including forklift maintenance, guarding, racking, traffic management, personal protective equipment and insufficient return to work information.
WorkSafe inspectors visited 212 Bendigo workplaces as the campaign, and in addition to the 117 notices, another 60 breaches were dealt with on the spot.
“It was great to find some standout businesses making health and safety a priority with inspectors walking away without having to issue any notices,” said WorkSafe Victoria’s general manager for operations, Lisa Sturzenegger.
“We also came across businesses that had made attempts to address issues before the visit and welcomed the opportunity to discuss matters with an inspector.”
Many of the issues identified in Bendigo could be fixed at little to no cost and she encouraged businesses to find new ways to address workplace matters.
More than half the injury claims made each year in Victoria relate to dangerous manual handling practices and over the past five years, treating and rehabilitating injured Bendigo-area workers had cost local businesses $41 million, according to Sturzenegger.
“This adds considerably to business costs through higher workplace injury insurance premiums and lost productivity,” she said.
“We also find in many prosecutions that businesses admit they were aware of an issue but failed to fix it. In many cases this has resulted in an injury, a conviction and a large fine.
“Not addressing health and safety matters can have devastating effects for workers and businesses. We urge businesses to stay on top of potential hazards, no matter how small or large they might be.”