A recent enforceable undertaking demonstrates the significant monetary costs that can result from a worker being injured on machinery where the safety interlock has been disabled.
The undertaking entered into last month by ABC Tissue Products Pty Ltd (the Company) is valued at nearly $1.5 million.
Approximately $500,000 of that value is attributed to loss in production resulting from the proposed English language training to be provided to nearly 200 workers, as well as $150,000 spent on fixing the safety of the machine in question.
The undertaking relates to an incident in August 2016, when a worker sustained serious hand injuries when operating a tissue making machine at the Company’s site in Wetherill Park, NSW.
The key areas the undertaking focuses on include:
- workforce strategies, which include:
- engaging an external consultant review of the Company’s existing traffic management plan and implementation of any recommendations;
- engaging an external training organisation to conduct English lessons with a work context;
- engaging an external consultant to review the guarding on 24 production lines at its Wetherill Park site, including implementing any improvements;
- industry strategies, which include:
- developing a safety leadership program in consultation with SafeWork NSW, aimed at raising safety leadership and improving safety culture in the manufacturing sector; and
- community strategies, which include:
- developing a community awareness program in consultation with SafeWork NSW, targeted at linguistically diverse workers, to increase awareness of workers’ WHS rights and responsibilities and resources that SafeWork NSW can provide.
The undertaking, published in full on the SafeWork NSW website, highlights for businesses the importance of taking a proactive approach to developing and improving the safety culture of their organisation. A focus on educating the workforce, including language skills, on safety processes and also improving safety leadership, are key lessons for all organisations.