WorkSafe launches WA childcare inspection program

by Lyndsie Clark

October 24

WorkSafe is conducting a proactive inspection program to look at safety issues in Western Australia’s government and private childcare centres in metropolitan and regional areas. The program will continue until the end of the 2018-19 financial year.

 

WorkSafe Director Sally North cited significant growth in the number of childcare centres in the state since WorkSafe last undertook an inspection program, and acknowledged that it was time WorkSafe updated its knowledge of the sector.

 

The growth in WA childcare services since 2012.

 

“There are now a large number of childcare centres, and we have not taken a close look at the safety aspects of the sector for quite a few years,” Ms North said.

 

“Childcare centre workers are often injured in incidents involving manual tasks, and there are a couple of other areas in which risk is elevated, so we need to take a good look at these risks and make sure workers in the industry are aware of them.

 

“It is important that these workers receive adequate training in and information on recognising the hazards they face as part of their jobs. WorkSafe has an extensive schedule of proactive inspection programs concentrating on particular industries or activities and aimed at providing employers and employees with information on how to make workplaces safer,” said Ms North.

 

She explained that the primary focus is to deliver information to employers, however enforcement action will be taken during the program if breaches of the laws are found.

 

During this inspection program, inspectors will be concentrating on priority areas including manual tasks, hazardous substances, electricity and slips, trips and falls. The inspectors will also focus on the procedures the employer has in place for managing violence, aggression and challenging behaviours, including policies, training and investigation of incidents.

 

Communicable diseases are also an area of concern, and inspectors will be looking at whether childcare workers are being given suitable training and information on the risks involved.

 

The inspections will be conducted with the aid of a checklist to ensure consistency across all workplaces.

 

“These proactive inspection programs aim to help employers to comply with workplace safety and health laws, and we firmly believe that raising awareness is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness,” Ms North said.

 

Further information on safety and health in childcare workplaces and the checklist for this inspection program can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au

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