Victoria targets maintenance safety

Wednesday, 05 December, 2007

WorkSafe has begun a campaign that targets the maintenance, repair, installation, service and cleaning (MRISC) of machinery and equipment.

These areas make up nearly 60% of around 8300 machinery-related injuries in Victoria's manufacturing industry in the past year. Nine people died in incidents directly related to MRISC tasks.

The campaign highlights the need to plan and effectively supervise MRISC tasks to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.

The director of WorkSafe’s Manufacturing, Logistics and Agriculture Program, Trevor Martin, said the briefings would give managers of MRISC tasks a better understanding of how to plan these jobs and the importance of consultation and supervision.

“The process does not have to be overcomplicated, but robust and practicable,” he said.

The campaign is supported by Victoria’s State Coroner, Graeme Johnstone, who sees the result of many incidents related to maintenance work.

He emphasises the need to carry out a job safety analysis, ensure adequate lockout procedures are in place and that employees are sufficiently trained and supervised.

“Coroners rarely see genuinely ‘new’ or unusual factors in deaths at work,” Johnstone said.

“While the time and place of a death at work cannot be predicted, if you fail to have and follow strict hazard identification and risk management procedures, a company or sole operator runs the real risk of a death or serious injury during maintenance.’

Martin said it was common for employers to consider the potential hazards associated with machines in normal use, but not when it was undergoing repairs or maintenance.

“Just because a machine may be risk-assessed to be safe for an operator does not mean it is safe for the person performing maintenance.”

WorkSafe is holding workshops in Melbourne and throughout Victoria until the end of June 2008. Information on venues and times can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

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