Sunday 16 December 2018

OH&S - Who Decides When Conditions Are Dangerous

A real life safety situation arose during a recent extreme weather event and a trader made a decision to close their shop, but did they do the right thing?

This occurred on a 38 degree Friday but it wasn’t the heat that was the problem, it was the wind. Forty knot northerly winds were creating havoc with a trader’s stall and the potential for injury from flying fittings and stock was very real. The trader decided the situation was unsafe and closed for the day.

A fellow trader was faced with a similar predicament and rang office staff to ask if he could close. He was told that if he did close early it would be noted against his record. His circumstances were not as dire and he decided to remain open but take extra precautions to secure stock and fittings.

So, just who should make the call here? Isn't the trader ultimately responsible if something goes wrong? Should the trader be penalised if he has made a judgement call? Should there be some discussion with management before taking action? Do we need some guidelines?