By on October 3, 2018

Congratulations from WorkSafe

Firstly WorkSafe would like to congratulate the CMPA on the publication of their 100th issue of Sand and Stone.

It’s a wonderful achievement – WorkSafe views the magazine as an ideal platform to highlight significant achievements and improvements in the quarrying industry.

Recently, the CMPA asked WorkSafe to provide an overview of interactions with quarry operators and stakeholders over the last five years, and a number of points were raised with the inspectorate.

  • Initial acceptance of WorkSafe by Quarry operators – has this changed?

WorkSafe Inspectors noted that most interactions with quarry operators have been positive. Some quarry operators initially exhibited a cautious approach towards WorkSafe, however this discomfort was quickly allayed by building rapport. Initially some operators felt targeted i.e. why are you inspecting my site? All quarry operators now accept the Earth Resource Program (ERP) at WorkSafe as the safety regulator and expect to be visited “at some stage”.

A notable change in the past five years is willingness for quarry operators and employees to work with the ERP team. All stakeholders have demonstrated a passion for the industry and are committed to improving safety. Quarry operators are more trusting and willing to call the ERP team and welcome proactive visits. Operators are also more open and confident to provide feedback to WorkSafe.

  • Has safety performance at quarry sites improved over the last five years?

WorkSafe Inspectors have observed an improvement of safety standards at quarry sites and an improvement of knowledge of risk amongst quarry operations. Inspectors have seen stronger cultures and employee empowerment to discuss safety. Employees are also more comfortable to deal with inspectors than in the past.

WorkSafe also acknowledges an improvement in an understanding of Occupational Health and Safety legislation and regulatory requirements including incident reporting.

  • Understanding of systems safety – has this improved?

Initially, the concept of a systematic approach to safety management did not appear to be a priority, with some quarry operators relying on past practices, suggesting “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, without an incident – so what is the issue?” Unfortunately WorkSafe has seen how this culture can directly impact employee safety. In some instances there appeared to be gaps, experienced and qualified quarry operators could demonstrate how they were managing risks associated with batter stability, blasting, traffic management etc…, with others having no systems at all.

WorkSafe notes, awareness around system safety is definitely improving amongst quarry operations, with high performing sites really exemplifying how implementing a relevant, well thought out safety system directly correlates to a positive safety culture. A safety system that empowers employees to champion safety and raise the workplace standard builds integrity in the system and this creates trust between everyone involved.

WorkSafe believes the industry still has room to improve, unfortunately poorly established safety systems seem to be a consistent factor and have been directly linked to serious incidents.

  • Stakeholder relationships and communication – has this improved?

When asked, all Inspectors agreed that stakeholder relationships have greatly improved over the last five years. Furthermore, there was consensus that the CMPA provides strong representation for its members with an active involvement in WorkSafe’s Earth Resources Tripartite (ERTS) forum.

In addition, WorkSafe greatly appreciates the opportunities provided by the CMPA to present to their members at various workshops throughout the year.

The Sand and Stone magazine is both interesting, educational and is pivotal in sharing important information across the industry. The inclusion of relevant safety information is to be commended as is the ongoing commitment to developing best practice guidance aids for the quarry sector.

Again, WorkSafe congratulates the CMPA on publishing its 100th issue of Sand and Stone. It’s a remarkable achievement, well done!

Kevin Hayes

WorkSafe Victoria


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