Tree safety targeted by new project
Safety in the tree work industry is the focus of a new project that has been launched by SafeWork NSW.
The Focus on Industry: Tree Work project aims to make it easier and safer for the tree work industry to do business and for consumers to make better choices.
It is a Commerce Regulation Program initiative that involves working with tree industry businesses across NSW to ensure they are meeting work health and safety, as well as workers compensation, responsibilities.
The project is a joint initiative of SafeWork NSW, NSW Fair Trading and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
“Each year more than 150 workers are injured while undertaking tree work and, sadly, three workers were fatally injured last financial year,” said Jodie Deakes, SafeWork NSW director of operational capability.
“Injuries are often serious, including head and spinal injuries and severe lacerations.”
Major causes of incidents include the lack of planning related to working at heights and around powerlines; the unsafe use of high-risk machinery such as wood chippers; and the failure to assess tree condition and ground stability.
Other issues include poor maintenance, untrained workers and a lack of workers compensation and sun safety, as well as unqualified or unregistered businesses using unsafe work practices.
Deakes said the project would provide support and advice to businesses to help them take simple steps to plan work and ensure it is safe.
“This will include inspectors visiting worksites to assist with safety systems while also promoting the benefits of early recovery and return to work and, where necessary, take action to prevent dangerous work practices,” she said.
“Every worker in the NSW tree work industry has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and safety is everyone’s responsibility.
“By combining the services of three NSW Government agencies, both businesses and consumers will have the information and support they need to design solutions to their work health and safety, workers compensation and consumer issues.”
For information on working safely with trees or how to select a qualified business, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
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