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20/12/2005

Wine industry safety audit gets positive response

The wine industry throughout Australia is being helped to improve its occupational health and safety through an intervention campaign. In South Australia 43 audits were completed and over 400 notices were issued. Senior inspector from Workplace Services’ Primary Industries Food & Beverage Manufacturing team, Frank Dal Santo said those who took part in the SA audit had been very positive, even though the number of notices served was high. The most common area of concern had been working at heights and also machine guarding. “It was a fairly stringent audit,” he said. “There has been a good record and we aim to keep the bar high. That way everyone benefits,” Dal Santo said. The SA project entered another phase with Safe Work 2005 during late October. A highlight was a wine producers ‘Walk & Talk’, focusing on machine guarding at St Hallett Wines when wine industry personnel had the chance to talk directly to engineers about guarding tipping bins, rotary fermenters and augers and a range of safety issues. Dal Santo said the Walk & Talk had been designed to offer practical solutions for the workplace. He said people could follow the examples set by St Hallett or adopt a system that better suited their individual needs. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne said a number of inspections had been undertaken by WorkSafe in the Margaret River wine region, and all of these inspections resulted in improvement notices being issued. "Our inspectors looked at wineries in the Great Southern and Swan Valley in order to cover all the main winemaking areas in WA." The national intervention campaign for wine producers is being undertaken in all States, using the same checklist. The aim of the strategy is to pinpoint the areas of concern and then present the results to the wine industry in each State. "One of the areas of concern our inspectors have identified is confined spaces such as wine tanks,” Lyhne said. "In addition to an apparent lack of appropriate systems of work for confined spaces, inspectors have been concerned at the lack of edge protection or fall arrest systems for the tops of wine tanks, which can be up to nine metres high,” she said. WorkSafe warning on tractor and plant hydraulics WorkSafe has warned the owners and users of hydraulic equipment to ensure it is well maintained and to take extreme care, following a recent death and an incident in which a man lost several fingers. A man died on a small holding in West Gippsland after being crushed under a slasher while trying to remove wire that became tangled underneath. The tractor which powered it was turned off, but the implement dropped slowly and caught the man who was trapped underneath for about six hours before he died. At Drumborg, in the state’s south-west, a man lost several fingers when the hammer of a post-driver hit him. Maintenance should be carried out according to the manufacturer’s specifications, guarding should be fitted and in good condition.

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