State targets 30% injury drop

By Andrew Hobbs on October 6th, 2017

REDUCING the number of workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders by 30% by 2022 is the target of a new program launched this week to coincide with National Safe Work Month.

SafeWork NSW said there were 19,525 major workers’ compensation claims for musculoskeletal disorders in the three years to July 2016, at an average cost of $32,744 each.

These disorders, which includes sprains and strains of muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, are commonly caused by hazardous manual tasks and slips, trips and falls.

A 30% reduction would result in almost 8,000 fewer serious injuries, requiring more than one week off work, and a potential saving of $250 million to NSW businesses, SafeWork NSW said.

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy said these injuries could occur when a worker performed the same movement repeatedly, worked in a sustained or awkward posture or used high or sudden force to handle objects.

“These injuries can be painful and have long-term and often costly impacts on businesses and their workers,” he said.

The agency has consulted widely with stakeholders from the industries at the greatest risk of musculoskeletal disorders to develop a strategy it says will help workers and businesses reduce the number and severity of serious work-related injuries.

These industries include the supermarket and grocery store sector and State and local government, targeting workers such as storepersons, in the healthcare sector and social assistance workers.

What is planned

In the first year, SafeWork NSW plans to hold a series of free Participative Ergonomics for Manual Tasks (PErforM) workshops and practical resources with people working in these industries– with a view to implementing the hazardous manual task risk management system more broadly in workplaces around the State.

Further research, including a project for the improvement of work design and a case study program and online forum for sharing solutions will be held into 2018 and beyond under the plan.

The strategy was released as part of the SafeWork NSW Work Health and Safety Roadmap 2022, which aims to reduce the incidence of serious musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses.

It is one of many new schemes being launched as part of Safe Work Month this October, a nation-wide campaign designed to highlight safety in the workplace.

Avoiding manual handling hazards

Mr Dunphy said hazardous manual tasks were the most common cause of injury in NSW workplaces, accounting for 29 per cent of all injuries.

For a risk so common, there is a lot to consider when building a plan to avoid it – which jobs are most at risk? Which workers are more likely to be affected?

Information and tips on how to help avoid injuries caused by manual handling can be found in the Health & Safety Handbook, which suggests a series of processes to help you manage the risks of doing business at your company.

The following chapters, all written in plain English by the health and safety lawyers at Holding Redlich, can assist:

  • O1 Office Safety
  • W6 Working from Home
  • T2 Training and Induction
  • H1 Hazard Identification
  • W4 Workplace Design, Modification and Purchasing

With more than 70 chapters covering the A-Z of workplace health and safety, the Health & Safety Handbook boasts a strong selection of suggestions and sets of step-by-step instructions to help develop stronger safety protocols in your workplace.

Order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook today and put it to work at your business on an obligation-free trial.





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