Safety in numbers

The safety brigade has been buffed yet again in the Latrobe Valley.

Three new Worksafe inspectors have joined the Traralgon office in the past two years, including the recent addition of Michael Gipp, bringing the total to 11 with one investigator and one admin support staff member.

The office is responsible for workplaces in the Latrobe Valley and across Gippsland and has been significantly bolstered in the wake of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire.

In the next 12 months the organisation is expected to conduct more than 2100 workplace inspections as well as farm walks and various information sessions.

New recruit Mr Gipp, who graduated in September, is well versed in the Valley’s industrial landscape and said he was keen to raise safety standards.

“I’ve come from a background in agriculture and also construction, which are both important industries in Gippsland, so there is a great opportunity for me to help improve worker safety in these sectors,” Mr Gipp said.

Worksafe regional operations manager Phil Grimson said the role of local inspectors was vital to the area’s workforce.

“Our inspectors are committed to reducing the number of injuries and fatalities in Victorian workplaces,” Mr Grimson said.

“It’s through our inspections that we can speak one-on-one with employers about health and safety issues relevant to their particular workplace and provide information and guidance.

“All employers in Victoria have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their workers.

“A serious injury or fatality not only affects the worker involved, but their family, friends, colleagues and the business itself. It is critical that safety is made a priority in all workplaces.”

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has called for further additions to the sector including a designated heavy industries inspector which would cover areas specific to the stations.

Speaking after a recent CFMEU Occupational Health and Safety forum, organiser Duncan Macgregor said the addition of another inspector was a step in the right direction.