September 22, 2021 News Our Resources


A manager expected SDA members working on the back dock to stand on a pallet on the tynes of a forklift and then be lifted by the forklift to retrieve stock off the racking. Management knew it was an unsafe practice but asked the SDA members to continue the practice until the ordered ‘cages’ were to be delivered to the workplace in 10 days time.

What should the members do?

  1. Accept that the manager is doing everything in his power and ask him to see whether the ‘cages’ could be delivered sooner.
  2. Accept what the manager said and hope like hell that no one falls off the pallet and gets serious injured or killed.
  3. Make the decision yourself that when you are five metres off the ground that you will be extra careful to keep your balance and not fall off.
  4. Go home and get life insurance.
  5. Ring the SDA and receive immediate assistance.

Ask yourself: What price do you put on your health and safety?


Julie, a 60 year old SDA member, works in an old retail outlet. During renovations, asbestos is discovered in the ceiling. Management have told her that minimal exposure to asbestos is okay and given her age, something else will kill her before asbestos does.

What should she do?

  1. Accept what management said and learn to breathe less.
  2. Accept what management said but wear a protective mask.
  3. Ring the SDA and receive immediate assistance.

Ask yourself: Should SDA members learn to live with asbestos or should management just fix the problem?

SDA Intervention

In both of these real world examples, SDA members rang the union office and spoke to SDA Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Matt Littleboy. He immediately contacted the head offices of both companies and both problems were fixed.

In the first example, head office put an immediate stop to the practice. In the second example, a government-sanctioned asbestos removal company removed the asbestos from the site.
Importantly, the SDA members are very happy with both outcomes.

Finally, call or email the union office if you have any health and safety problems in your workplace.