WorkSafe targets mobile plant

During May inspectors will look at earthmoving equipment, elevating work platforms, mobile cranes and forklifts on metropolitan and regional construction sites.Acting WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said a total of 22 workers had died over the past 10 years in incidents involving mobile plant, making it a major area of concern.“Of particular concern is that operators of mobile plant often have restricted visibility of ground workers and other pedestrians, especially when they are close to the machine, and there needs to be a series of controls in place to prevent injuries and deaths,” he said. “Whenever a construction inspector visits a workplace during the month of May, they will be checking to ensure that any mobile plant at the site is being maintained and operated in accordance with workplace safety and health laws.”Inspectors will be checking general regulatory requirements such as:Operator training and instructionProvision of an operator’s manualAdequate access and egressControl of pedestrian movement, including procedures for interaction of personnel and mobile plant Traffic management and acceptable ground conditionsTwo-way communication between mobile plant operators and other personnelWorkSafe will check that earthmoving plant, elevating work platforms, mobile cranes and forklifts meet regulatory requirements.The use of powered mobile plant on construction sites in WA requires a written safe work method statement to be developed and followed, which will also be scrutinised by WorkSafe WA inspectors. McCulloch said the construction industry had been informed in writing of the program and was aware of exactly what inspectors would be looking at.“Like all WorkSafe’s proactive inspection programs, this one aims to raise awareness and provide information, but inspectors will take enforcement action if they find breaches of the laws,” he said. “The Commission for Occupational Safety and Health has published a Guidance Note on the Safe Movement of Vehicles at Workplaces, along with other guidance material on mobile plant, forklifts and so on.“I strongly encourage all relevant workplaces to have copies of these publications readily available for workers.”For more information on safe work practices or to obtain copies of the guidance material call 1300 307 877 or visit the WorkSafe website.

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