Buddy System – Is this really Adequate Supervision?


Buddy System – Is this really Adequate Supervision?


A recent case in Victoria saw two companies prosecuted when a worker was injured and found to have been given inadequate training and supervision after the misuse of a buddy system.

When a Skilled Group worker was contracted to Incitec Pivot to ensure conveyor efficiency, he was given a buddy to teach him local work practices. This is a widely accepted method of training and supervision and used in many companies. But in this case one of his buddies thought it was safe to remove fertiliser from the conveyor using shovel, hammers and crowbars. This activity resulted in the Skilled worker using a shovel to clear a build-up, which got caught and left him with serious and permanent shoulder injuries.

The Court found that Incitec failed to properly supervise workers, while Skilled failed to determine the nature of the work its employee would be doing at the factory, or check whether Incitec had properly trained him.

This case emphasises the need for companies to understand who can train (or buddy) others within your organisation and what competency testing and monitoring you need to perform on these workers. For labour hire companies, this means what procedures need to be in place to check your employees are receiving appropriate and adequate training.

If you are unsure that your supervision or training is adequate please contact one of Safety Action’s consulting team on 03 96690 6311 to discuss how we can assist you.

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