HEALTH & SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACEAUDITPART B – BACKGROUND RESEARCH AND COMPLIANCE FINDINGSWorkplace DescriptionThe selected workplace belongs to the automotive service and repair industry (Retail and Wholesale) located in ___________(your area). The floor area of ___________(select any automotive repair shop in your area), is around 170 square metres with a workforce consisting of 6 mechanics, 4 helpers, and 2 office staff. These individuals are full-time employees, working 8 hours/day for 5 days a week. The workplace is divided into three sections – the repair/lift area, lubrication, and the office.
The repair and lubrication is equipped with car lift, air compressors, welding machine, A/C service equipment, alignment machines, battery chargers, and so on. Generally, people come to this workplace to get their vehicle repaired ranging from a simple tire problem to engine overhauling. During the visual inspection, the workplace appears clean and organized while its employees, particularly the mechanics and helpers are all wearing safety gloves and shoes while performing their work in a well-lighted area. In addition, there are safety signs, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and the floor is covered with non-slip matting to prevent slips and falls.
Whenever a car will be lifted or lowered, the mechanic first asks the customer and other non-technical personnel to leave the area while his helper inspect and secure the lifting clamps. During under chassis work, both the mechanic and helper wore safety glasses and working with enough space to move and in comfortable position to view the underside of the car. Industry ResearchAs mentioned earlier, this type of workplace is under the automotive service and repair industry or more generally in the “Retail and Wholesale” group.
There are around 478,000 people employed in this group and 96% of them are covered by WCS or Workers’ Compensation Scheme. Mostly under 45 years of age, there are 58,800 workers in the vehicle retailing and services covered by WCS and contributing to around 18% of Queensland economy (Queensland Government, 2010a). According to the fact sheets of this industry found in the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website, the health and safety hazards associated with this type of workplace include hazardous chemicals, compressed gases, flammable and combustible materials, electrical, fire, noise & vibration, slips, trips, and falls, and failure of hoist used for vehicle lifting (Queensland Government, 2010a). The health and safety requirements of the workplace are generally under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001.
In 2005 to 2006, the industry according to the statistic update by the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations or DEIR is generally performing well as it has lowest non-fatal claim rate of all industry groups. Specifically for motor vehicle services, it has 12.1 non-fatal claims per 1,000 workers from 2005 to 2006.
Associated musculoskeletal disorder claim rate also went down by 6% or 6.4 claims per 1,000 workers. These injuries were mostly affecting the lower back and caused by lifting and lowering heavy objects such as wheels and tyres. Moreover, traumatic injuries rate went up by 6% mostly caused by moving objects. Vehicle parts and accessories fitters were mostly affected by musculoskeletal disorders while motor mechanics were commonly affected by traumatic injuries (Queensland Government, 2010a).