Decline in Workplace Accidents attributed to Stricter Laws

Tasmanian unions have expressed their satisfaction with new workplace laws which they believe have had a positive impact on injury rates in the state and which they believe will continue drop in the future as a result of these laws.

Figures have been released in coordination with the launch of WorkSafe month which show a 4 per cent drop in the number of Tasmanian workers injured on the job.

According to The Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne, last year we saw 8934 injuries as compared with the 9312 reported the previous year. It was the first year that our workplace injury rate dropped below 9000 in a year. And workplace fatalities in the state over the past year were just 4.

According to the Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins, the new workplace laws which came into effect at the beginning of this year have helped to combat the alarming workplace culture of prioritising productivity over safety.

An excerpt from explains:

“Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.

But Mr Harkins says Tasmania is still the second worst performing state behind Queensland.

Most injuries and deaths occur in construction and farming jobs.

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The post goes on to provide a cautionary tale for readers about a worker injured on a potato grader conveyor belt. This incident highlights the importance of managing workplace hazards proactively before work on the site even begins. This involves anticipated the dangers and developing a safe plan to overcome the dangers.

Read what the post went on to explain:

Last year, Chris Dornauf spent an agonising hour and a half with his arm caught in the conveyor belt of a potato grader.

He says recovering from a workplace injury is a slow process.

Cut all five nerves, or five tendons and two of the main arteries,” he said.

After eight surgeries and with more to come, he still has not regained the use of his arm.

He is now able to drive trucks instead of working the farm, but says he is more aware of what might go wrong.

“When you stand back and look at it, you think about how dangerous things are,” he said.

“It’s a big, it’s a lot different now.”

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Despite the drop in injuries and fatalities in Tasmania, more still needs to be done nationally to enforce workplace safety. It is for this reason that the federal government has made general construction safety training (also known as White Card Training) a mandatory requirement for any worker in the construction sector.

Ensuring that each worker has completed this training is not only the law but will also ensure that workers are aware of the hazards presented by construction work, so as to not endanger themselves or their co-workers on site.

The White Card course is nationally recognised which means that once a worker completes the training in one state, they are able to work in any state in Oz without having to redo their training. This makes work across borders much easier and allows workers to choose where they want to live and work anywhere in the country.


Has your workplace been safeguarded against the most common Construction Hazard?

There is no doubt that construction sites can be dangerous places for workers especially those engaging in work from heights, such as those on scaffolds, roof tops, ladders etc. It is important that employers safeguard these workers to minimise the risk of injuries and fatalities.

Slips, trips and falls from heights are the most common accidents that occur on construction sites which result in worker injuries and very often deaths, yet there are still workers who conduct dangerous tasks from heights without the appropriate protection. This could be for a number of reasons, perhaps they have not been trained on the correct safety procedures to follow or perhaps they have been trained but incorrectly assume that they are experienced enough to handle work from heights without protection or perhaps they think that setting up appropriate fall protection is too time consuming, whatever the reason a number of workers are dying each year because of these common misconceptions.

Remember even falls from low heights can cause injury, so once the hazard of working from a height has been identified and it is determined that this hazard cannot be eliminated, employers must attempt to minimise the risk associated with it as much as possible.

There are 3 basic considerations when it comes to safe working from heights- that are often ignored, they are:

  • Training
  • PPE
  • Supervision

The most important tool any construction worker has in protecting him/herself is knowledge. That is why safety training is of utmost importance and is in fact a legal requirement.

Workers need to undergo general construction safety training before they even set foot onto a construction site – it’s the law. This construction safety training should be in the form of The White Card. The White card teaches workers about the most common construction hazards and the safety measures that should be implemented to control them, including work from heights.

Even though workers should be in possession of their White Card it is important that employers offer additional training in the form of site specific training to familiarise them with the unique hazards presented by work on the site. No two sites will be exactly the same and that is why site specific training is needed. Workers operating from heights should receive special site specific training relating to this hazard and the control measures implemented on the site to overcome them.

Fall protection and PPE are another important aspect of work from heights. Workers must be trained on effective fall protection equipment and personal protective equipment that they need to utilise. They should also be provided with this equipment free of charge and trained on its correct use.

The final aspect to consider in keeping workers safe when working from heights is supervision. Workers need to be supervised when undertaking high risk work. Supervise workers to ensure that they abiding by the sites safe work methods and sticking to their training. Also ensure that they are utilising the protective equipment they have been advised to utilised and doing so correctly. Young workers in particularly require added supervision when working from heights or engaging in any high risk tasks on site.

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