Why property maintenance is key to workplace safety maintenance
A recent ABC News story about the destruction of the exterior of a historic lighthouse highlights the importance of vigilance in your organisation’s repair and maintenance regime.
The lighthouse, located on the South Australian coast, has suffered from years of water erosion but also, more recently, from damage caused by galahs actually excavating and eating the stonework.
While not posing a risk to the structural integrity to the lighthouse, the situation is one example of the importance of implementing a regular repair and maintenance regime for any assets owned or operated by your organisation. Without such a maintenance program and regular inspections, these developments could be missed – and could lead to safety risks.
Similar issues were dealt with by the courts earlier this year when two companies were fined in Western Australia following a 600,000-litre raw water tank spontaneously failing at an iron ore mine. It was just plain luck that no workers were injured when the water burst out.
According to the media release issued by the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, the structural integrity of the tank had deteriorated substantially due to corrosion. This problem occurred despite servicing instructions requiring annual visual inspections, including checks to all external surfaces. Employee reports of leaks were also ignored and no formal audits were undertaken over several years.
Two companies with responsibility for employment and operations at the mine were fined in excess of $51,000.
These two stories highlight the importance of proactively detecting and assessing for potential damage of your assets, whether they are buildings, plant and equipment, or other tools of the trade. This is a key cornerstone of safety in the workplace. Deterioration and destruction can not only lead to damage to your property, but can also cause health and safety risks.
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