There is growing concern in the industry about the practice of basket lifting steel in preference to more accepted alternatives such as either double wrapping, reeving or choking loads.
Basket lifting is not recommended safe practice under national safety guidelines.
Safe Work Australia’s National Guidance Material Working Safety with General Cargo – Steel Products favours double wrapping over basket lifting to ensure a positive grip on entire load throughout loading/discharge (page 23).
These guidelines are still in force and should be followed.
What you need to know
MUA has written to all bulk and general stevedoring companies to formally notify that basket lifting is not a recommended practice.
Under state health and safety law, the employer is under a legal duty to establish a safe system of work.
Employer must take into account what is known in the industry about how to handle the particular risk.
Basket lifting is not recommended under National Safety guidelines. Working Safety with General Cargo – Steel Products clearly favours double wrapping over basket lifting to ensure a positive grip on entire load throughout loading/ discharge.
MUA Enterprise Agreements recognise the National Guidance Material for training and compliance purposes.
In 2010, MUA initiated a successful prosecution of Patrick over three charges under section 76 of the Victorian OHS Act. This case was about harassment of workers who raised a concern about basket lifting. Patrick was found guilty on three charges.
What you should do
Health and safety representatives and delegates are advised to:
- Thoroughly risk assess the practice of basket lifting
- Work with the employer to identify a safe system of work
- Take into account the state of knowledge in the industry, which clearly favours double wrapping
- If, after following this process in good faith, workers have a reasonable concern, of a serious risk from an immediate or imminent hazard, they should cease work and make themselves available for other duties.
Any instances of harassment or intimidation of HSRs, delegates or members for raising a safety concern about basket lifting should be immediately reported to you local MUA branch.
For more information contact MUA National Safety Officer Matt Goodwin
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