Since the tragic events of October this year, Queensland theme park Dreamworld has come under intense scrutiny from the public, the media and a range of investigative bodies. The park gates have remained closed to guests over recent weeks while investigations and audits of the park’s facilities and processes have been conducted.
One such agency involved in assessing Dreamworld during its close-down period was Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). WHSQ recently announced that its audit had come to an end, resulting in 10 safety prohibition and improvement notices being issued to Dreamworld and sister park WhiteWater World. All the notices issued by WSHQ related the safety of workers and maintenance staff and not to the safety of guests.
The improvement notices covered a range of areas such as updating procedures and equipment associated with the use of pool chemicals and correctly and durably labelling rides, equipment and tools. The prohibition notices, on the other hand, related to some more serious safety concerns including the safety harness anchor points on a particular ride, maintenance of certain pieces of safety equipment and the requirement for a new operator’s booth gate to be installed.
Dreamworld has committed to addressing WSHQ’s concerns before the park re-opens next week, and has instituted its own internal safety review to be conducted in conjunction with amusement ride specialists and an international theme park safety expert. Dreamworld has since been commended by the Queensland Industrial Relations Minister for its commitment to “robust safety systems and procedures.”
The results of the WSHQ audit are a good reminder to employers about conducting comprehensive and detail oriented safety audits for the safety of both customers and workers. Effective safety auditing help identify small issues before they evolve into big incidents. As discussed in a number of our other recent articles, employers should not discount the value of early investment in a robust work health and safety culture.
Shane Koelmeyer is a leading workplace relations lawyer and Director at Workplace Law. Workplace Law is a specialist law firm providing employers with legal advice, training and representation in all aspects of workplace relations, employment-related matters and WH&S.
02 9256 7500 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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