In November 2020, a teenager had her scalp completely ripped off her head when her hair got caught on sprocket drive chain underneath a fruit sorting conveyor.

Surgical attempts to reattach her scalp were only partially successful and now she now suffers psychological effects from the incident and her ongoing disability and disfigurement.

In convicting Nippy’s Waikerie Producers Pty Ltd, the Court found two main failings:

1.Lack of training which “may have saved the 18-year older worker”

2.Lack of guarded machinery, even though a risk assessment had identified the unguarded drive chain sprocket as an issue many years earlier

The court stressed that  “Young people entering the workforce need training ……………….that will equip them to identify risks and dangers which might arise in the course of their work, and give them the confidence to raise any concerns with their supervisors”.

Read case details here.

As Work Health and Safety Consultants we conduct hundreds of risk assessments each year and see how busy workplaces often overlook safety.

So, what can we do to prevent incidents in our workplace?

The single most important thing is to adopt a SYSTEMS approach. Rather than reacting to safety issues, have a system that mitigates risk in the first place.

Build your system starting with these three critical elements.

1.Develop a procedure to ensure hazards are regularly identified and closed out e.g. roster periodic safety walks that record hazards and actions

2.Develop a procedure to consult workers and get feedback e.g. identified hazards from safety walks can be discussed at Toolbox Talks

3.Develop a training system that records and tracks safety training completions relevant to job roles and triggers refresher training

It’s good practice to track these metrics on a dashboard and have an agenda item at management meetings that monitors progress and drives improvement.

If you require assistance with any matters relating to health and safety compliance don’t hesitate to contact us.

Your Safety Partners

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