Inspection program looks at safety of workers in schools

WorkSafe is conducting a proactive inspection program to look at safety and health issues for workers in WA primary and secondary schools.

The program will continue until the end of the 2019/20 financial year, and will include both private and public schools in metropolitan and regional areas of the State.

It will expand on a previous inspection program looking at hazards facing cleaners and gardeners, and will add potential hazards in science labs, home economics rooms, swimming pools and so on.

WorkSafe Director Sally North said today inspectors had looked at areas of the education sector in previous years because of high injury rates.

“This inspection program will widen our attention on education even further,” Ms North said.

“Some of these aspects of the education area have not been looked at for some time, if at all, so it’s time to re-visit them and identify any widespread issues.”

The program will look at a wide range of safety and health issues including WorkSafe operational priority areas such as manual tasks, falls from height, electricity, guarding of plant hazardous substances and slips, trips and falls.

It will also cover more industry-specific issues such as design and technology, kitchens and automotive areas.

Also under the spotlight will be asbestos management, violence and aggression, infectious diseases, quad bikes, construction work and contractor management.

“A wide range of safety issues can arise at schools, and we’ll be taking what we trust is a comprehensive look at them,” Ms North said.

“We have an extensive schedule of proactive inspection programs concentrating on particular industries or activities and primarily aimed at providing employers and employees with information on how to make workplaces safer.

“The primary focus is to deliver information to employers, but enforcement action is always taken during the program if breaches of the laws are found.

“The first priority is always raising awareness because we believe this is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”

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