An enforceable undertaking entered into by Logan City Council will highlight workplace safety across the organisation and benefit other councils and the community.
LCC entered into the undertaking with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to provide nearly $640,000 for worker, workplace, industry and community safety initiatives. The EU follows an incident in which a LCC worker, employed as a water maintenance labourer, was injured working on a blocked sewer.
Due to the location of the sewer manhole, the hoses of the trailer mounted jet rodder, normally used to clear sewers, couldn’t be used. After unsuccessful attempts to clear the blocked sewer pipe, hand operated sewer drain rods with a square bar corkscrew bit were used instead.
A worker was twisting the handles of the sewer rod when one of the screw-in handles disengaged and the worker lost control of the rod assembly. Due to the pressure build up in the rods, the handle and rods spun violently, injuring the worker.
In the event of an alleged contravention of WHS laws, the regulator may, as an alternative to prosecution, accept an enforceable undertaking by the person alleged to have committed the contravention. An accepted enforceable undertaking aims to deliver tangible benefits which would not be achieved through a prosecution.
In this undertaking, LCC has committed to purchasing an additional high-powered jet rodder as a spare for on-call work crews. It will be truck mounted to improve accessibility and manoeuvrability.
LCC will also deliver staff safety workshops and hire consultants to audit its work practices, equipment and worker training. It will trial ‘Risk Talk’, a voice powered workplace safety application which enables work crews to complete safety assessments and work planning verbally, rather than using the current paper-based job safety environmental analysis.
A dedicated principal health and safety advisor will be employed and LCC will present and share lessons learnt from the incident at a Q-Water Safety Forum, as well as all other relevant general safety forums. An annual vocational internship for students completing a Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety through the University of Queensland also will be provided.
LCC will also develop a “Community Learning and Development Program” to provide assistance and expertise through free workshops and training sessions for community members, services, and organisations.
This undertaking will improve community knowledge in health and safety and risk assessments and empower organisations within the council to improve their approach to and performance of health and safety. It will make the council area a safer place to both live and work.