Audit report highlights need for trained ground support personnel
From 6 July 2020 to 30 October 2020, SafeWork SA carried out a second compliance campaign focused on mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), per the recommendation of the SafeWork SA Elevating Work Platforms 2019 Audit Report. Outcomes from the second compliance campaign highlighted the need for training of ground support personnel in the event of an emergency. An MEWPs Guideline was developed and released by SafeWork SA prior to the compliance campaign to support the industry in the identification of hazards and risks associated with MEWPs and the essential role of ground support personnel.
SafeWork SA conducted 521 site visits and 256 compliance audits at various workplaces and EWP hire sites, issuing 79 statutory notices in response to non-compliance. These consisted of 67 improvement notices and 12 prohibition notices; 36% of notices referenced ground support personnel not being trained in an emergency, such as in the event of an emergency descent. Around 50% of SWMS for high risk construction work did not identify the hazards and risks that could result in an emergency situation that required trained ground support personnel.
Use of an MEWP in construction is high risk construction work (HRCW) and requires a safe work method statement (SWMS) to be completed. An SWMS identifies hazards and the controls to be implemented, and when followed correctly, minimises the risk of injury on worksites. SafeWork SA will undertake a follow-up compliance audit campaign in late 2021 focusing on safe work method statements (SWMSs) for high risk construction work.
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