Alert for all ACWA Members from our OH&S Advisors Eastman Lynch following two serious incidents, which occurred recently at sites of long standing and experienced ACWA members. Details of the two incidents are:
Case 1: Employee working from a platform ladder fixing a swivel in a self-serve bay. Employee over reaches, falls and fractures pelvis, breaks a number of teeth, is taken to hospital and the next day has a heart attack. Currently recovering.
Both Workcover and Workplace Health & Safety investigated the accident. The car wash had a WH&S manual and the employee had signed off the WH&S induction forms. No action taken against employer because of manual and induction training.
Case 2: Site manager needed to adjust a light sensor which was just out of reach when standing. Needing to climb only two steps, did not think about securing the ladder. Unfortunately when dismounting he twisted on the final step and the ladder slipped from under him. At the time, thinking that it was a minor injury to his shoulder, I did not think that it was necessary to report the accident to work cover.
As it turned out, he had torn his rotor cuff which needed surgery and extended physio and he has not been able to return to work in twelve months.
I have been self-employed for 33 years and this was my first work related accident.
What the ACWA Member has learnt from this experience:
Apart from the obvious OH&S issues when using ladders, I recommend that all employers take the time to read their workers compensation guidelines and have their employees sign off on the manual. Organize an incident report manual & report all accidents IMMEDIATELY. Compensation will only start from when the accident is reported.
ACWA advises Members to print out the one page graphic Ladder Safety Alert and put it up in each site plant room or office
Also available is a Risk Assessment for the Use of Ladders