ATSB warns against complacency in workplace risk management

Date: Feb 13, 2013

Catastrophic injury suffered at the workplace can have consequences that extend far beyond the day the incident takes place.

In addition to the loss of income they suffer while recuperating, injured parties may be also be faced with costly medical treatment and rehabilitation.

If you are injured at work in NSW, compensation lawyers may be able to help you secure compensation.

Unfortunately, there are some work accidents from which there is no recovery.

A fatal accident in which a maritime worker was knocked off a ladder by a wave while working on the side of a container ship has prompted the Australian Transport Safety Board to issue a warning about managing risk in the workplace.

ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan published a blog post yesterday (February 12) on the broader subject of unsafe work practices.

Mr Dolan used the container ship incident as an example, noting that the seaman in question was equipped with the appropriate safety gear and the crew present had successfully performed the same task dozens of times over the previous two months.

However, crew had not carried out a proper risk assessment nor taken into account poor weather conditions at the time.

“The ship’s safety management system was not effectively implemented and documented procedures were not followed,” said Mr Dolan.

“In short, this accident was a textbook case of failing to properly identify the risks before starting a task and not following standard safety procedures.”

And the ATSB chief commissioner notes that far from being an isolated event, such incidents are anything but rare.

“Falls from height, crushing and exploding equipment are happening all too frequently in the maritime industry – so much so, that we think the industry needs to give heightened attention to unsafe work practices,” said Mr Dolan.

He encourages anyone who manages risk in a maritime work environment to visit the ATSB Safety Watch website.

The ATSB have identified maritime work practices as one of nine broad safety concerns arising from their recent investigations.

On the site, the public can access safety bulletins, procedures, and the results of recent accident investigations.

Mr Dolan notes that of chief concern is that in several cases, complacency about risk management has been the direct cause of injury and death.

The ATSB advises workers to ensure they follow the established risk control plan for all procedures that have one.

It says that if workers are ever unsure how to safely perform a task, they should talk to a supervisor about their concerns.

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