SafeWork SA Inspection Practises 2011 (The Review by Mr Stewart-Crompton)

The report released by Minister Wortley yesterday outlines recommendations made by Robin Stewart-Crompton and on the surface those recommendations do address some important concerns that were aired by the Coroner in February 2011.

VOID has been asking for a more efficient and speedier investigation /prosecution for years and that hasn’t happened.  VOID met with SafeWork SA in 2006 outlining the importance of communication with families and what happened?  Those people we were liaising with have either moved on or their positions were made redundant – quite recently in fact.

It’s difficult to remain objective regarding the rationale in response to the explanation SafeWork SA has given for the tardy responses in audits on dangerous equipment.

In his findings, the Coroner raised concerns that it took SafeWork SA more than 6 years to implement and audit on Horizontal Borers and this only at the time of the inquest.

 Page 22 Section 51 b)
inspectors in the 2004 Manufacturing Team had no evidence indicating that horizontal borers were the source of significant injuries to a large number of workers in the manufacturing sector;

Page 58 Para 3At the time of the Madeley incident, SafeWork SA inspectors were confronted with a tragic event involving a specialised item of plant which was used in an unknown number of workplaces across the state. The inspectors had not encountered an incident of this type previously and there was no relevant data to indicate that this equipment was causing injuries to workers. The Team had no evidence before it at that time which indicated that horizontal borers were the source of significant injuries to a large number of workers in the manufacturing sector.

Possibly the most depressing revelation for me personally was what appears to have been a complete lack of lateral thinking. The horizontal borer is essentially a large machine that has a fast rotating shaft or spindle – similar dangers apply to lathes, milling machines and radial drills, to name a few.  So what?  That’s the best the department could come up with was to do nothing?

Please feel free to peruse the SAIRC  findings in ‘Baker V Jean Bryant Fisheries an Arthur Markellos’ and a strikingly similar incident only 14 months later on another shark boat controlled by the same people,  ‘Hillman V Figtree Fisheries PL’.

I can summarise this into a few words.

A massive shark spool crushed and killed Giacomo Salvemini in November 2005.  The controlling company was charged and prosecuted under the OHS&W Act.  Just 14 months after this fatality, another fishing vessel owned by the same people managed to drag another employee into its shark spool.  The saving grace here is that the unfortunate deckhand on the Figtree Bay was caught by his foot this time.  He survived but with serious injuries that have left him unable to work.

It’s evident today why SafeWork SA failed to inspect the other boats and specifically, the other shark spools owned by these same directors – let alone setting its focus beyond that.

There’s little point questioning these concerns now because it is apparent that just like the Horizontal Borer, a commercial shark reel was not considered a dangerous piece of equipment that injured lots of workers.  This explains perfectly why a Stanley knife in a packing area might have a higher resource of attention than that of a massive machine that might be quite deadly but does not inflict harm on a regular basis.

It’s difficult for broken-hearted families to look forward with optimism when confronted with the kind of rationale that has been aired in this report.  The recommendations are good, but our experiences to date tell us to proceed with a hopeful mind but accept the likelihood that we may be arguing these same issues in 10 years’ time – happy to be proven wrong.

Andrea Madeley – President / Founder

  1. Sab says:

    If only they could take the politics and greed out of workplace safety instead of doing stupid things like considering the removal of licensing from earth moving plant?… a lot of them are large and have rotating bits… but hey… never a dull moment…

  2. Karen Hudson says:

    Who are you to question the minds of OHS South Australia, pfffft! Andrea you are the only person I have yet to come across with the heart and soul to fight tooth an nail to protect the lives of every working person in Australia.
    In 8 years I have not come across another single person that has made Workplace Safety their lives journey….. not one! and especially not any of those that are actually paid to. (I think they call themselves Occupational Heath and Safety officers and Management :0)
    I may have chosen to take some time out to heal and try and get some perspective to my life after spending 8 years in morning :0( but I will continue to follow your growth and path and cheer you on every step of the way.
    Have you ever wondered what the employment requirements of Occupatiional health and Safety officers and Management are ?????
    In my opinion and experience they are not employed to make changes, so I see them as nothing more than a clean up crew.
    So in reality they are cleaners with pretend tiltles.
    I can’t help but wonder if the job description requirements state…. no morals, no empathy, no thought for human life.
    People that hide under these titles should be ashamed of themselves, they are not their to implement changes, they are there knowing they have a cushy and well paid government job that requires no effort.
    Who are you to question the minds of OHS :0) a mother that has suffered first hand the pain and suffering of losing her beautiful son to an unbelievable and tragic experience…. please step forwards all those people employed by OHS that also have such experience.

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Welcome , today is Friday, June 22, 2018