Inspectors focus on furniture-making industry

Monday, 18 August, 2008

WorkSafe WA will launch an inspection campaign in the furniture (cabinet-making) industry next month to reduce injuries in the sector.

Inspectors will visit a sample group of furniture-making businesses to identify any common safety risks and will provide information to employers on how to comply with OHS requirements.

“The Cabinet Makers’ Association and unions will be consulted and letters will be sent to around 700 furniture-makers informing them of the upcoming campaign,” said WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne.

“The manufacturing industry — under which the cabinet-making sector falls — has the highest number of lost-time injuries of all WA industries. Around 67 people employed in the cabinet-making sector are injured each year seriously enough to have to take time off work.

“These campaigns are aimed at raising awareness of the potential risks and providing employers with information on their responsibilities, but if the inspectors find breaches of the workplace safety laws, they will take enforcement action," she said.

The inspections will continue over the period from September to December, visiting a random selection of workplaces in both metropolitan and regional areas of the state.

Areas that will be looked at during the inspections include:

  • Electrical — all electrical equipment is in good repair and RCDs are in use where they are required;
  • Hazardous substances — proper labelling and registers, risk assessments;
  • Manual handling — control measures in place and training given;
  • Guarding of machinery; and
  • Instruction, training and supervision of workers.

“Apart from the priority areas common to most workplaces, this campaign will pay particular attention to the correct use of powered saws and the storage of timber and large wooden sheets,” Lyhne said.

“Back in March, a 22-year-old apprentice cabinet-maker tragically lost his life when he was crushed under a stack of large timbers in a furniture factory in Malaga, and this has prompted particular attention to the issue of stacking of materials in factories."

For more information, visit the WorkSafe WA website.


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