A proactive inspection program undertaken by WorkSafe WA has uncovered “serious concerns” with hazardous substances throughout the states takeaway food outlets.
A total of 152 takeaway premises were visited during the program, which WorkSafe Acting Director Grady Chaney said was prompted by the significant number of lost-time injuries in the sector, along with the fact that young workers were most often injured.
“At the time the inspection program commenced, the sector was averaging 163 lost-time injuries per year, with 115 of these keeping employees off work for five or more days and 30 of these keeping them off work for 60 days or more. The majority of injuries – around one third of all injuries in the sector – were suffered by workers in the 15-19 year old age group, and this is also a major concern.”
Inspectors issued 719 improvements notices, three prohibition notices and 41 verbal directions in the course of the program.
The greatest number of notices, 237, related to hazardous substances. These were predominantly for a lack of risk assessment records, registers, training records, and Material Safety Data Sheets. A further 81 notices related to emergency precautions, after inspectors found inadequate evacuation procedures, first aid facilities, and training procedures.
The most common injuries in the takeaway food sector include soft tissue injuries, burns, lacerations, bruising, and superficial crushing and fractures.
“This inspection program uncovered some widespread problems with hazardous substances and emergency preparedness, so the industry now needs to pay more attention to these areas and ensure that risk assessments are carried out, emergency procedures are in place and that all workers are properly trained.”
“We intend to maintain contact with the takeaway food industry and to carefully monitor the enforcement action taken during this inspection program.
Mr Chaney said the program was part of a continuing series of proactive inspection programs looking at safety issues in a wide range of industries across the state.