WorkSafe Victoria has launched a concerted assault on the state’s biggest source of workplace injuries which cost the community $600-million dollars a year in medical treatment and rehabilitation bills.
New television advertisements show the graphic and instant, consequences of manual handling injuries and slips, trips and falls in the transport and warehousing sectors as well as other industries.
Statewide and across all industries, they account for more than 60% of all reported workplace injuries* – more than 17,000 a year.
The average cost of treating these people through Victoria’s workers compensation system averages $45,000 per claim and the average time off work is 10 weeks.
WorkSafe’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said the issue was enormous in the transport and storage sectors where individuals suffered greatly, often long-term, from what were almost always totally preventable injuries.
“For employers productivity is cut, there may be staff replacement costs, retraining and safety improvements to be made after the event. Industries lose people permanently.”
WorkSafe inspectors will back-up the campaign with workplace visits targeting these issues over the next few months.
Target sectors for both parts of the campaign are injuries that cause:
- back pain
- muscular sprains and sprains
- soft tissue injuries to the neck, arms, shoulders and legs
- abdominal hernias
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- fractures and dislocations
There is also a transport and storage safety poster and information on what WorkSafe inspectors look for when dealing with these issues.
WorkSafe’s John Merritt said these injuries were often not taken seriously in the community, written off as ‘accidents’ or seen as ‘just part of the job’.
“There's no ‘blood on the floor’ or spectacular images on the nightly TV news or in the morning paper, yet the consequences of these injuries are enormous for individuals, their loved ones and their employers,”
The television advertisements use computer imagery and lightning-fast editing to take viewers inside the body to see bones break and tissue tear.
“This campaign should make every employer think about what they expect people to do and how they do it and workers to consider the consequences of what they do.
“Today, employers should be looking at the potential injuries causes by poor manual handling practices, repetitive work which can cause damage slowly and the often-present potential for slips trips and falls.
Manual handling issues, slips, trips and falls will be a major focus of workshops and events at this year’s Work Safe Week (October 26-30).
* Based on Victorian Workers compensation claims where people are off work 10 days or more and / or medical treatment costs in excess of $520.