Heads of workplace safety meet in Sydney

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008

Australian and New Zealand Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) met in Sydney recently to discuss the progress of a range of initiatives to further OHS management across Australian workplaces.

John Watson, chair of HWSA, said the body had received an update from the National OHS Review Panel on the progress of the review into model OHS laws.

Members discussed the development of a national compliance and enforcement policy and its operational principles.

HWSA also addressed a number of national campaigns targeted at specific industries across all jurisdictions.

“Members endorsed the project concept plan for the 'National Action Plan for High Risk Plant' campaign," said Watson.

"This campaign will focus on elevated work platforms with the aim of developing a design registration checklist, compliance audit tool and inspector training package. Consultation with stakeholders and a pilot study are due to commence shortly."

The 'Prevention of Falls in General Construction' campaign is nearing completion, with the members endorsing its final report. This included over 1000 site inspections resulting in the rectification of identified non-compliance while inspectors were on site.

The report concluded that overall there has been an improvement in falls prevention, especially with multi-storey housing. The findings will soon be available on the HWSA website.

Members received an update on the 'Manual Handling and Slips & Trips in Hospitals' campaign, which has entered its evaluation phase. Its aim is to educate the hospital sector through a mix of information, assistance and enforcement activity. Audits of selected hospitals have been completed, with results currently being analysed.

Members were also updated on the progress of the 'Guarding of Machinery in Manufacturing' project. Site audits were completed in a number of states, with the data from these audits currently being analysed. The harmonisation of guidance material has occurred across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. A post-audit survey is planned for later in the year.

Check the HWSA website for further updates on these and other initiatives.


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