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WorkSafe to Target State's Most Risky Industries

04 July 2011

WorkSafe launches a statewide blitz today targeting the state's most dangerous industries.

WorkSafe General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said the hard-line approach would target eight industries which accounted for a quarter of all workplace claims in 2010.

This campaign will focus on enforcement. Potential prosecutions will be fast-tracked to send a clear message that unsafe work practices will not be tolerated.

Food manufacturing and processing, wood product manufacturing, fabricated metal, transport equipment manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing, road transport, warehousing and storage and residential aged care services will all receive visits as part of this campaign.

"To have a quarter of all claims in Victoria come from fewer than 3,000 businesses within these industries shows they need to do more to improve health and safety in the workplace," Ms Sturzenegger said.

"Industries and individual businesses with the highest number of injuries don't only disadvantage themselves and the people who work for them, but they drive up the insurance premiums of good operators within that industry.

"They are well aware of their obligations and they have the information needed to address health and safety risks."

WorkSafe inspectors will visit more than 4000 businesses in the target industries over the next year.

They'll issue notices to workplaces who fail to meet their health and safety obligations to improve outcomes in their workplace.

"Despite years of working with these industries, we are finding that we are not getting the traction we know is possible by addressing some basic safety issues," Ms Sturzenegger said.

"More than 2,000 of the 7,000 injuries within this group relate to injuries caused by not having the right equipment to lift or move things as well as easily-prevented slips, trips and falls."

Ms Sturzenegger said it was essential to change the way industry addresses basic safety issues including hazardous manual tasks.

Musculoskeletal injuries caused by manual tasks account for 60 per cent of all workplace injuries across the state.

"Nothing should be considered as a minor problem in any workplace," she said.

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