HG Alert: Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Inspections on the Rise - 6 Oct 2010

Each year, approximately 100 Queenslanders die and 30,000 more are seriously injured at work. This means that on average, 577 Queenslanders suffer serious work-related injury or disease each week.

These and other alarming statistics have led to the introduction of the Zero Harm at Work Program, and an increase in the number of impromptu audits conducted at workplaces across Queensland in industries considered to be 'high risk', such as construction, transport and agriculture.

Companies in these industries would be well advised to reacquaint themselves with the obligations imposed by the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (Qld) and Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008 (Qld), and the powers conferred on inspectors when attending at workplaces, to ensure they are not unwittingly in breach of their obligations or in danger of facing disciplinary action.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has recently published a guide outlining what to expect when an inspector calls, which is available on their website. The guide may be of assistance should an inspector come knocking, although it does not contain legal advice and is not an alternative for specific advice, should an issue arise.

The expected areas of focus for inspectors attending workplaces as part of the audits conducted during the year-long campaign are licensing, scaffolding, manual tasks, mobile plants, working with asbestos and fatigue. Codes of Practice have been published to address these areas, together with a Code of Practice for the management of risks generally, and may be useful for those considering the management of the risks associated with their businesses and discharging the obligations imposed on them.

For more information, please contact HopgoodGanim's Occupational Health and Safety specialists.