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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Dying on the job - What are your risks?

Maralyn Kastel - Thursday, July 04, 2013

Health and safety management in the workplace is crucial to the success of your business. Not only does it make sense from an economic point of view such as lower Workers Compensation, greater productivity and worker involvement but demonstrated effective management of your health & safety obligations is a big plus if you ever have a serious accident.  We know this based on the experiences of our clients. 

According to Safe Work Australia, 81 Australians have been killed while at work during 2013 so far.  It is also noted by Safe Work Australia that the four most fatal industries are:

  • Transport, postal, and warehousing – 21 deaths
  • Agriculture, forestry, and fishing – 18 deaths
  • Construction – 13 deaths
  • Manufacturing – 8 deaths

These statistics may leave you wondering what you should focus on regarding health and safety management. No plan is fail-proof, but fatalities and serious incidents can be minimised or greatly reduced by having a plan that is implemented. 

Focusing on the key potential hazards in your industry can help avoid these tragedies. So make a plan to involve your workers; have a management system that is simple to use and understand and most importantly do it regularly.

According to Safe Work Australia the four most common causes of accidents excluding vehicle accidents are:
  1. Falls from heights
  2. Hit by moving objects
  3. Hit by falling objects
  4. Electrocution

In America according to forconstructionpros.com, the four leading causes of deaths are falls, electrocutions, crushing and being struck by objects.

Preventative measures include fall protection around perimeters, PPE such as harnesses, gloves and boots that provide high levels of grip and worker training.

One of the most important ways to prevent accidents while getting on and off equipment is to have grab bars and additional steps installed on the equipment.  Make sure you train workers in “Getting on and off plant" safely.  It may seem a simple normal activity, but many broken ankles and fractured shins are the result of getting off plant and equipment.

Working in a manufacturing plant involves physical labour. As a result, falls, over-exertion, and repetitive movements are common causes of accidents.  Falls can be prevented by effective housekeeping and proper procedures for management of stock and materials.

Over-exertion is often related to back pain.  Repetitive movements can cause musculoskeletal injuries. Proper lifting equipment and training can reduce back injuries.  Additionally, it may be beneficial to provide pallet jacks, mechanical lifting devices, and training in manual handling to reduce the risk of back injuries.  

Transport, postal, and warehousing
In this industry focus on falls and safe handling. To avoid falls, you need to have trucks with tailgates. Make sure your workers have enough time to handle their loads during unloading and loading. When rushed, accidents are more likely to occur. One of the most important ways to avoid accidents is to have the correct equipment for the task.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing in Queensland, the most accidents in this industry involve young workers. Part of the cause of this is inexperience. Having experienced workers train the new worker will reduce the likelihood of accidents. There must also be safety measures put in place such as personal protective equipment, training and supervision available at all times. 

There are many ways to manage safety in the workplace. Above all, know what your hazards are, have a plan in place to prevent and quickly resolve accidents, and train all workers to know, understand and use your safety procedures. 

Contact us to find out more.

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