CMPA meets with the Victorian WorkCover Authority

By on April 16, 2014

ROB KELLY, Manager of the VWA’s Earth Resources team provides clarity on the ‘Quarry Oversight Inspection Checklist’ and onsite training.

IN the Aug/Sept 2014 issue of Sand and Stone reference was made to the VWA’s draft ‘Quarry Oversight Inspection Checklist’, with the CMPA stating ‘they believed there would be difficulty in compliance with such a long checklist and the industry would collapse because of compliance requirements’.

Rob Kelly, Manager of the VWA’s Earth Resources Team, contacted the CMPA to provide further clarity about the purpose of the checklist.

“The checklist was developed as an internal document to assist inspectors and while we have provided it to the industry for feedback it was never intended to become a ‘top to bottom’ tick the box tool. Rather a tool to assist inspectors focusing their attention on specific topics while at a site. They would use those areas of the checklist which were relevant to the visit and importantly to the specific quarry site being inspected. If the checklist is to be used by a quarry operator the same would apply. They would only need to use those areas of the tool which is relevant to their site and the checklist could also be modified to meet the specific nature of a quarry”.

As mentioned in issue 68 of Sand & Stone (April/May 2013) “While WorkSafe, (now called VWA) has identified these areas and inspectors will continue to visit quarry sites to ensure risks are controlled, we understand there may be times when the day to day pressures of running a business and the thought of having systems in place to manage health and safety can seem overwhelming”. VWA’s Manager – Earth Resources, Rob Kelly said “The legislative requirements and the technical expertise required to understand what the legislation means can, at times, make it difficult to know where to start or how to go about it”.

VWA offers free hands on safety support to eligible small businesses. The program (VWA OHS Essentials Program) has been reviewed and is now available to small and medium sized businesses with a VWA Insurance Policy. Sole traders with contractors may be also eligible to apply but must hold a VWA Insurance Policy.

Also mentioned in the Aug/Sept 2014 issue of Sand & Stone is the CMPA’s belief ‘VWA does have some responsibility in ensuring employees receive adequate training in their roles and should be conveying this message during site visits.’

Again, it is important to provide clarity as to an Employer’s responsibility and VWA accountabilities. As an employer you must provide a safe and healthy workplace for your workers and contractors. Amongst other things this makes sure workers have adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to work in a safe and healthy manner. This would include quarry managers and supervisors, who are also employees.

The primary role of VWA inspectors is to ensure duty holders (e.g. employers) comply with health and safety legislation. They do this by providing advice and information, inspecting workplaces and enforcing the law.

An inspector may enquire into what information, instruction, training and supervision is provided by a duty holder to employees. This would normally be due to a response to an incident, an area identified by the VWA as requiring intervention or following receipt of a complaint.

As can be seen in the VWA 2013/14 review data, the main areas which involved inspector visits and focus were: Traffic management, plant guarding, batter stability and employee facilities.

In summary, the matters of employee information, instruction and training are always a primary responsibility of the duty holder. One way of achieving this, but not limited to, is the engagement of an RTO to complement on site work experience. While information, instruction, training and supervision is not specifically mentioned as a current focus area by inspectors it will, no doubt, be part of how a duty holder ensures they are providing a safe workplace.

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