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News Media Releases Unions call for immediate action to prevent workplace accidents
Unions call for immediate action to prevent workplace accidents
Friday, 09 December 2011 12:45

WA unions today demanded immediate action from the Barnett Government to address the staffing crisis in WorkSafe, the agency responsible for administering WA’s occupational health and safety laws and promoting safe workplaces.

WorkSafe is in the midst of a staffing crisis and is currently unable to fill more than a quarter of its workplace inspector positions. WA currently has the lowest ratio of workplace inspectors to employees with major regional centres such as Kalgoorlie and Geraldton without a single inspector.

UnionsWA Occupational Health & Safety Officer Linda Morich is concerned that the staffing crisis is endangering WA workers.

“WA has 1.2 million workers and only 76 workplace inspectors. This is the lowest ratio in the country.”

“Current inspectors have no time to do their crucial role of accident prevention,” said Ms Morich.

With WorkSafe vacancies, WA has just 0.7 inspectors per 10,000 employees - the lowest of any state or territory.

“In a state the size of WA, having the lowest ratio of workplace inspectors per employees is scandalous negligence by the State Government.”

Workplace inspectors are tasked with both responding to safety incidents as well as taking a proactive approach to prevent further workplace accidents.

CPSU/CSA State Secretary Toni Walkington said WorkSafe inspectors want to contribute to the prevention of injuries and deaths not simply react to these tragedies when they occur.

“The important work of hazard inspection, workplace advice, support and education is being neglected because of staff shortages,” said Ms Walkington.

WA has recently experienced one of the worst months on record for workplace deaths with seven deaths in just 28 days.

“Minister Simon O’Brien and the State Government have been ignoring this issue for far too long. They must act immediately to fill the existing vacancies and indeed to increase the total number of WorkSafe inspectors,” said Ms Morich.

“Every West Australian has the right to a safe workplace yet at the moment there is little guarantee of this. The State Government is aware of the issues and yet they are not prioritising the safety of WA workers. This needs to change.”


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