Rise in work accidents result of Worksafe underfunding, say WA Greens
Date:Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The continuing rise in serious workplace injuries is completely unacceptable and reflects the ongoing budget cuts which have been made to Worksafe under the Barnett/Grylls Government, says WA Greens Spokesperson for Occupational Health and Safety Alison Xamon.
Ms Xamon made the comments after new Worksafe figures showed that serious workplace accidents were rising and compensation claims had reached an 11-year high.
“These statistics are tragic and appalling,” Ms Xamon said.
“These are not just numbers, they each represent a worker whose life, and that of their family, has been changed forever by unsafe workplaces.”
Ms Xamon has been asking questions in Parliament investigating the number and role of workplace inspectors employed by Worksafe.
“Answers to my questions reveal that there is clearly a problem at Worksafe in employing enough Inspectors and even then Inspectors with the required level of expertise in some fields,” she said.
“What I have found is that it is common for Worksafe inspector positions to be vacant for several years, especially in country areas.
“This means there is effectively no or grossly inadequate enforcement of safety requirements in these regions in particular.
“I recognise that Workplace Inspectors are often passionate about workplace safety but, simply, there is not enough of them to meet the need on worksites.
“I contend there is a direct correlation between the increase in serious accidents and the fact that we do have not enough industrial inspectors.
“The Mining Minister has introduced a safety levy to fund additional mining inspectors, a move which received bipartisan support.
“In contrast, Worksafe has been happy to sit and watch inspector positions remain vacant and take no proactive measures to address this.
“Under the Barnett/Grylls Government Worksafe has been allowed to fail in its role and I am calling on the Minister for Commerce to address this as a matter of priority.”