Councils working safer

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In the wake of the Victorian Auditor General’s 2004 report on Occupational Health and Safety in Local Government, real improvements are being made as the industry strives to make up lost ground.

The report found that while Local Government was generally a safe place to work, and staff felt that it was safe, there was room for improvement.

WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said Local Government was increasingly recognising that workplace safety was a fundamental role as a community leader.

WorkSafe has been running a number of projects to help Victorian Councils heighten their understanding of safety management. For example, school crossing supervisors across the State are being issued with improved protective clothing after two were hit by cars within a few weeks last year.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the traditional overcoats worn by crossing supervisors – white with an orange ‘Sam Brown’ belt – did not meet Australian standards, but after being alerted by WorkSafe, Councils moved quickly to meet the standard.

Some Councils are providing a new type of coat with reflective strips and panels, while others are issuing crossing supervisors with high visibility reflective vests that have long been used by their outdoor staff.

“Crossing supervisors work in a variety of weather conditions to protect our children as they go to and from school,” John Merit said. “Having Councils recognise that crossing supervisors need the same level of protection as other employees is a pleasing result.”