The regulations regarding safe work method statements are in a constant state of flux, and the harsh reality is that the changes made to existing laws usually come after a tragedy of one kind or another. Workplace safety is something that every employee should be able to look forward to when they begin their job, and in most cases, people are able to get through the day without incident. These rules are not only in place to look after the employees, but also the customers who visit businesses on a daily basis. The laws are set to change again after a tragic incident at the Dreamworld theme park.
Four guests were left dead after an incident on a popular water ride at the Dreamworld park. A malfunction on the Thunder River Rapids ride saw a pair of passengers ejected from the ride, while two more remained trapped inside. This has prompted legislation to be introduced to State Parliament that would make industrial manslaughter part of the Workplace Health and Safety Act in Australia. If passed, the new law would hold not only the individual in charge at the time of an incident responsible, but also the company than employs them.
It is not yet clear whether Dreamworld will be tagged with the industrial manslaughter label, as there ae still ongoing investigations taking place with the specific incident. There are many who feel that the addition of a new law is not really necessary, since the legislation set out Workplace Health and Safety Act and the Criminal Code tend to cover all the bases including a safe work method statement. This was seemingly proven after an incident at the Eagle Farm racecourse left two workers dead after being struck by a slab of falling concrete. In that case, the builder was charged with two counts of criminal manslaughter.
Perhaps the bigger issue here is a lack of adequate training at theme parks and local shows. There is a definite sense that a lack of training played a role in the incident at Dreamworld, although it must be said that these types of places tend to have a larger employee turnover than most, making it difficult for workers to be fully trained as needed. Proposed licensing changes would put stricter training rules in place, all in hopes of avoiding more ride incidents like the 111 that have taken place in Australia between 2001 and 2011.
It is often younger people who work as ride operators, and the goal here is to strike a balance between job opportunities and workplace safety. Making the rules too strict might prevent younger kids from getting a job, which is why the focus should be placed on supervision. Operating a ride for 8 hours per day is not stimulating work, which is why proper supervision should be in place to ensure that all safety requirements i.e. the safe work method statement is being adhered to. This is how we make sure that employees and guests all have a fun and safe time when out and about having fun.