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NSW wine industry and WorkCover working to improve safety

The wine industry in New South Wales has responded positively and quickly to a call by WorkCover NSW for improvements to safety at wineries.

A number of serious safety incidents since the start of this year, including an explosion in the Hunter Valley and separate machinery and chemicals injuries in the Riverina, have prompted a safety review in the industry.

“The recent serious incidents in the wine industry have shown that processes involved in winegrape growing, harvesting and wine manufacture, can involve a range of dangerous tasks” said NSW Wine Industry Association review chair Paul Dakis.

“It is essential that systems are put in place to ensure the safety of workers at all stages of the production chain”.

The NSW Wine Industry Association has met with WorkCover safety inspectors and has advised its members of a program of site safety visits that began this month. The visits will have an advisory focus and will occur initially in the Riverina, Central West and Hunter regions.

WorkCover Officers will be visiting workplaces to provide information, conduct workplace inspections and give guidance on machinery safety, chemical use and storage, working at heights and confined spaces.

In addition, a review group including representatives of the NSW Wine Industry Association, TAFE NSW, the Australian Workers union and NSW Department of Primary Industries, is being established to update the wine industry’s safety guide.

“This review will provide a valuable opportunity to incorporate guidance on the latest industry technology and safety methods,” Dakis said.

Information seminars outlining the advisory visits and guide review programs will be run by WorkCover in Griffith, Orange, Pokolbin and Mudgee, beginning next week. For further information contact WorkCover on 131 050.

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