Part of being a responsible employer is making sure you maintain a safe working environment for your employees. Every year thousands of Australian workers are injured at their jobs – some even lose their lives.
That is why it is critical bosses are familiar with how common workplace injuries are and what employee advice they should give to help meet their health and safety requirements.
The most dangerous industries to work in?
Safe Work Australia is the national organisation that monitors and enforces workplace health and safety laws. It found the most dangerous industries for all workers in Australia were transport and storage; agriculture, forestry and fishing and manufacturing.
Some of these industries have very high rates of injury incidents. Agriculture, forestry and fishing has the highest at 21.9 claims for injury compensation per 1,000 workers. This is in sharp contrast to an industry like finance and insurance which had an incidence rate of only 2.2 claims per thousand in 2011-12.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) reported eight worker fatalities in the first six months of 2014. All of these employees were men, who face an injury rate 25 per cent higher than women per hours worked, according to Safe Work Australia.
Worker injuries can cost in both time and money for business that do not take safety seriously.
How much does injury compensation cost in time and money?
Worker injuries are not good for business. Not only do they affect worker morale and the reputation of the company, but they have a significant cost in both time and money for those businesses that do not take safety seriously.
Safe Work Australia states that compensation claims can cost upward of $8,000 – that was the median claim for all workers since 2009. These workers are spending more than five weeks recovering from their workplace injuries, according to stats from 2011-12.
Both of these statistics have increased in recent years. Since 2000, the median amount for compensation was only just over $5,000. But this has increased in the last 10 years from $6,100 to $11,000.
In Queensland, compensation claims in all industries are up 45 per cent over a decade in the state, according to a report from WHSQ.
Plus, workers are taking a significant amount of time off to recover from injuries – as many as 12 weeks, according to stats from 2014. However once recovered, most workers do return to their jobs.
While getting workers back to work is becoming more costly and taking longer, their rate of return has also increased.
In Queensland, the average return to work rate after an injury in the workplace is over 90 per cent. This was a dramatic improvement from back in 2013-14 when the rate was only 50 per cent, according to WHSQ.
The construction industry in Queensland
Construction plays a very important role to the economy in Queensland. By looking at the rates of injury we find it is also one of the most dangerous industries to work in.
The boom in construction saw young builders and tradesmen flood into the state. Young workers are already at greater risk for an injury and construction workers face this risk from a wide range of sources. These include falling from heights, being hit by objects, heavy vehicles and using dangerous tools and equipment.
This industry has some of the most dangerous occupations for workers. Labourers, tradesmen and related jobs are all in the top three highest injury incident rate categories per thousand workers. Employers in the construction industry in Queensland should be taking extra precautions to ensure their workers are not injured.
Companies in need of employer advice on workplace safety requirements or compensation claims, should contact a Cairns lawyers with legal and business expertise in these areas.