Workcover issues workplace safety warning after crush injuries

Workcover NSW is reminding business owners of safety in the workplace after new research showed that almost four dozen people had received crush injuries while working with moving large machinery or heavy vehicles.

Workcover NSW is reminding business owners of safety in the workplace after new research showed that almost four dozen people had received crush injuries while working with moving large machinery or heavy vehicles.

WorkCover analysis shows that in the 12 months from August 2012 to August 2013, there had been 46 incidents where people had received crush injuries while working near or in large machinery or heavy vehicles.

 

WorkCover NSW General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John Watson said these figures show moving heavy machinery or heavy vehicles can be dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death.

 

“Earlier this year a six-year-old boy was run over when his father was reversing a forklift truck at the rear of the workplace,” Watson said. “The boy sustained serious crush injuries to his abdomen and underwent surgery in hospital.

 

“In another incident, a farmer fractured her leg and some ribs as a result of being struck by a front end loader’s bucket that became detached while she and her husband were using the machine to hit a post into a post hole.

 

“A motor mechanic, working underneath a prime mover, sustained serious crush injuries to his abdomen when the truck he was working on came loose from its chocks and pinned him down.”

 

While there were no fatalities in these instances, that’s not always the case. Watson said WorkCover staff can assist businesses to prevent workers from being injured while using plant and equipment.

 

“Almost every workplace has some form of plant or equipment and there are many associated hazards, including entanglement or crushing, cuts or punctures, being struck by moving objects, electrical or explosive hazards, slips, trips and falls, and manual handling.

 

“NSW businesses must provide information, training and supervision to workers and ensure plant and equipment is without risk to the health and safety of workers by ensuring it is installed correctly, operated by a competent person, not interfered with and that control measures are in place. Crush injuries and fatalities involving moving large machinery and heavy vehicles can be reduced if attention is paid to the control of the risks associated with working with and on such equipment.”

 

WorkCover recommends business owners follow these three steps to ensure the safety of their employees:

 

  • Look for the things in your workplace that can cause harm;
  • Decide how serious the risks are; and
  • Eliminate or control those risks by making changes that protect your workers.

 

While court action is generally only used in the most significant safety breaches, Watson said WorkCover can and does prosecute businesses that fail to adequately protect their workers. This included recently fining two companies a total of $480,000 after two incidents four months apart left one man dead and another seriously injured.

 

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