Accident leaves company director with $40,000 fines

Ministerial media release encourages employers to take additional measures with staff members who do not speak English as their first language to ensure they can do their job safely.

The director of cleaning chemicals manufacturer B&J Industries has been fined $40,000 after an employee was left permanently scarred from highly corrosive acid which splashed onto his skin.

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the accident was entirely avoidable if the employer had provided the personal protective equipment required by law.

“The law is crystal clear; it’s employer’s responsibility to provide workers with the proper equipment they need to safely perfrom their job,” Mr Anderson said.

The employee migrated to Australia on a temporary work visa and had only been working at the company for two days when an acetic acid spill made contact with his skin, causing permanent scarring.

The Minister said employers are required ensure employees are made aware of potential risks in the workplace, and they must to take additional measures with staff members who do not speak English as their first language to ensure they can do their job safely.

“Migrant and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers are over-represented in high risk industries and have a greater chance of being injured at work, which is why employers should take extra steps.

“SafeWork has worked with stakeholders in the industry to develop translated webinars, YouTube videos and written resources to help reduce the risk factors associated with CALD and migrant employees, so they can be better informed and safer while they are at work.”

SafeWork NSW research shows that migrant workers can also be hesitant to speak up about unsafe work practices for fear of losing their work sponsorship or visa.

“If your employer won’t listen or you’re not comfortable raising a work health safety concern, we’ve developed an anonymous tool, 'Speak up. Save lives', to report unsafe work practices quickly and confidentially,” Minister Anderson concluded.

Access the At risk workers' strategy 2018-22 and Speak up tool.

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