Danger of Generic Safe Work Method Statements

Danger of Generic Safe Work Method Statements

We have been concerned for some time about the propensity for some employers and contractors to use a work method statement they found on google. An activity condoned by the people they give it to and who don’t properly check it for accuracy and completeness. See our recent article Problems with work method statements

Here is a blog post from Safety For Life that relates the story of a company fined over the death of an 18 year old trainee and his “generic” work method statement.

“A NSW employer whose “generic” safe work method statement failed to prevent the death of an 18-year-old trainee has been fined $60,000 out of a possible $550,000.

The judge, however, praised its attempts to make safety “a priority”.

In 2007, a Lithgow Tyre Service trainee was inflating a forklift tyre when the nuts and studs on its two-piece composite rim – which were old and worn – failed.

The rims split in half with explosive force and the worker was struck, sustaining fatal injuries.

The employer was charged with breaching the State Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000, in failing to provide a safe system of work and training and instruction that specifically addressed the fitting of tyres to two-piece divided rim assemblies of the type used on forklift trucks.

Risk assessments informal and undocumented

In the Industrial Court, Justice Trish Kavanagh heard the employer’s OHS management systems were based on advice and documentation from an OHS consultant, who only conducted “general” risk assessments.

The employer contended – and staff agreed – employees were trained to perform informal, undocumented risk assessments for each type of rim they worked on.  Read the full post here

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below