James Prout, CEO of Zokal Safety Australia, issued the following statement:
“Australian business owners and directors should evaluate their safety systems and procedures as a matter of urgency,” said work health safety specialist James Prout. “The COVID-19 lockdowns have been a major disruption and there’s a tendency that as we get back to work, things like safety could be overlooked.
- It is important that safety procedures don’t fall between the cracks and get neglected as businesses try to get back to normal during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
- The safety of Australian workers is paramount and this must not be compromised during this period of adjustment.
- The $3 million dollar fine handed down by a Brisbane court last month for industrial manslaughter, shows that the courts are going to be tough on safety violations.”
To help businesses get back on track with their safety requirements, Mr. Prout’s company, Zokal have put a free initial assessment online at: https://zokal.com.au/about-us/free-onsite-audit/
On June 11 this year, a Brisbane company was fined $3 million dollars for industrial manslaughter after it was discovered that the business had no documented safety system, in the wake of the accidental death of one of their workers. The company’s two directors also received suspended jail sentences for reckless conduct as a result of the tragedy.
“You can expect to see more of this kind of thing. Under no circumstances should any company operate without documented safety systems to compliment procedures.” said Mr Prout. “This is particularly important where heights, confined spaces or machinery are involved. “
Mr Prout believes that the COVID-19 crisis period is a potentially dangerous time for Australian workers. “The focus of management has understandably changed after what has possibly been the largest business challenge they have ever faced, and there is a real risk of safety equipment inspections, servicing or systems being overlooked.” he said. “No responsible business owner would knowingly put their workers at risk, but small lapses in attention can add up and before you know it, you’re facing a catastrophe.”
Mr. Prout urged owners and managers not to neglect their safety obligations. “It’s important not to allow potentially lifesaving tasks to fall through the cracks in your rush to get your business back on track,” he said.
James Prout has over forty years of experience in the safety industry. His company Zokal Safety Australia conducts safety inspections, equipment servicing: safety training, including confined space and height safety training and hire specialist safety equipment.