Safety is a topic that is being talked a lot about in the industry. More people are becoming aware of it and actually participating in making our industry safer.
But recently I saw some pictures on the “dodgy Technicians” page on Facebook that were allegedly taken at the Perth Big Day Out on the Green Stage. I am not to sure what context they were taken in, but it is worrying that some of the practises we are campaigning about are still happening. I also don’t know what function these pieces of equipment performed. It could have been anything from holding a heavy load in place to just been lying around not being used.
Also what is worrying is the person that posted the images posted them on Facebook and did not send them to the relevant authority or contact the on site safety officer. As you can see from the following pictures there was a right to be concerned.
The person that uploaded these pictures to Facebook did quote one person from the event stating: “Nothing to worry about mate… we’ve got an engineers certificate saying it’s safe”
My questions range from was there an onsite safety officer? Was it reported? It appeared on Facebook but did it go anywhere else, like Worksafe in WA? This is the sort of thing we are trying to stop and therefore we need to take a pro-active stance. Someone at the event should have said something. The mentality that”the show must go on” must not be at the expense of people’s safety. Now if we assume that these “alleged” are in fact true, should we just ignore what is before our eyes? Or should we start to ask questions. There in fact groups and government departments that can help make our workplaces safer. All we need to do is ask for advice, there is tons of information out there, admittedly not always easy to get, but it is there.
So what should you do if you come across gear like this?
To me the first thing would be to report your concern to your manager. If you feel that the answer is not satisfactory I would then go looking for the safety officer. All events should have a person who can sign off on the event. As we all know “Event organisers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare, not only of the public attending an event, but also of any employee, volunteer or contractor involved in organising the event.” There needs to be a detailed “Event Management Plan” to cover all contingencies. All event activities and structures etc. have to comply with all relevant legislation and regulations. So there needs to be an Event Safety Officer – monitoring and review responsibilities established throughout the event.
Once the problem has been reported, follow-up action has to be undertaken and a report needs to be made. The Event Safety Officer should also let people know of the outcome as well. It is sometimes better to cry wolf than have an incident happen and people get hurt. If the person reporting the problem happens to be wrong, don’t chew them out but explain to them. We all need to help and educate ourselves and others. Now if the gear is in fact dangerous, the event safety officer should get make sure some action is taken, the extreme being to shut that stage down. Hopefully that would not be necessary and the can either swap out the damaged gear or affect and on-site repair. And putting lengths of timber under a hold down weight does not make sense? Fricdtion with the ground is an important factor with these I believe. The lengths of timber would reduce the friction but make it easier for a fork lift to move.
From the images I am sure there was not an engineers certificvate covering it, or if there was one it was issued when the gear was built and it has not been checked since. And how did it come to be used? Surely the person or persons that assembled it noticed that it was not in the best of conditions.
Another thought is it should have been reported to the correct people and not shown to the rest of the world. Suppose these are shots of something that is un-related. Then these images show Australia and our industry in a bad light.
So I hope we can learn from this. We do not need a distaster to learn from, let us be pro-active and lets all go home after a good day’s work entertaining the public.