Role of Safety Consultants in reducing workplace hazards.
Our Safety Consultants at DRA Safety have been working with Private Schools/Colleges, Universities, Businesses Major Amusement Parks across Australia assisting them to reduce eliminate or reduce hazards that expose workers and others to risks of injury or disease. The most current set of figures are available and point to a trend of reducing these hazards however there is more that can be done to achieve this. Our Safety Consultants can help your business to reduce hazards with a view to reach ‘Zero’.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released Work-Related Injuries data for the 2021-22 financial year on the 15th of February 2023. The data showed that, 3.5% of people who worked (at some point) during the year experienced a work-related injury or illness. This demonstrated the steady decrease in the workplace incident and fatalities data as released by the ABS data showing 4.2% in 2017-18 and 6.4% in 2005-06. Though this is encouraging more work is required to reduce this number even further.
The most common cause of work-related injury or illness were the tasks often listed as being Hazardous Manual Tasks. Specifically, these tasks involve lifting, pushing, pulling or bending, and account for 24% of incidents. Unfortunately, 66% of those who experienced a workplace injury or illness had to take time off work. As a result of this 31% of the injured workers received workers compensation adding to the cost burden for businesses. There is no specific data on persons who developed a lifelong debilitating injury or illness as a result.
The ABS data also presented a slight variation in work-related injury rates between men and women in the workplace, with men experiencing a higher rate of injuries overall with 3.9% compared to 3.1% for women.
It’s important not to draw conclusions from some of this data as trends in statistics associated with work-related injuries are always influenced by many compounding factors. These factors can include in isolation or combination improvements in workplace health and safety, changes in work, and external events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the data presented by the ABS suggests that workplace safety is slowly improving in Australia. Understanding that this change is driven by developing implementing and monitoring the various safety systems to ensure hazards are being eliminated or reduced. This change is happening at the big end of business leaving many of the smaller businesses struggling to reduce the hazards in the workplace.
Safety Consultants assist with coaching and mentoring.
That’s where our Safety Consultants can assist your business with a safety consultant coaching and mentoring your team to help build the safety culture to a point where it can become self-sustaining requiring only periodic monitoring to ensure that systems are on track. Previous data from the ABS support this position demonstrating that of the many programs designed to reduce the numbers in these statistics is working. However, there is still room for businesses to improve; keeping this trend moving and to further reduce the incidence of work-related injuries and illnesses.
ABS provide information on worker fatalities for 2020 categorised by aggregated age groups 25 – over 65 with 194 fatalities. The highest number of fatalities presented in the ABS data are in the age group 55-64 with 55 fatalities, next is the 35-44 age group with 34 fatalities. Finally, the under 25 age group had 8 fatalities. These fatalities had a direct relation to the ‘fatalities per 100,000 workers’ statistical relationship in each age group.
The ABS also provide information on the mechanism of incidents that resulted in worker fatalities in Australia for the same time. The most common of these incidents are vehicle collision, falls from a height and being hit by falling objects.
The largest number of fatalities occurred due to vehicle collisions with 80 deaths, accounting for 41% of all fatalities. It must be noted that these vehicle collisions are taken to have occurred in a workplace. For a Heavy Vehicle transport, Taxi, and even Pickup Delivery drivers the workplace is the road.
Some of the fatalities mentioned were members of the public (others) and must be added to these figures as it remains the Employers duty to protect all workers and others by the way they conduct their work.
Fatalities of others are included if a worker’s actions had a clear impact on the victim’s passing. This meaning entails the application of the “at fault” rule. If a bystander’s behaviour was seen to directly led to their own death as determined using data from a variety of sources, including police reports. A death is deemed to be “bystander fault” and is excluded from the database if the bystander’s actions directly led to the demise. The most frequent instance of this is when a non-worker directs their vehicle into the workers vehicle and dies.
The second largest mechanism was falls from a height with 22 fatalities, representing 11% of all fatalities. Historically people suggest that this fall must have been from a great height over 2m to inflict such an injury that would be a fatality. This is not the case and is reflected in the legislation where a fall is from one level to another. Persons hit by being hit by falling objects caused 17 deaths, represented 11% of all fatalities. Our Safety Consultants offer training on these topics that is not only practical but thought provoking for supervisors to be aware of when monitoring workers in the workplace.
These three mechanisms accounted for 65% of all fatalities in Australia. It is important for employers and workers to work together and prioritise safety measures to prevent incidents related to these mechanisms. The programs to be implemented could include ensuring proper training, use of personal protective equipment, and regular maintenance of machinery and equipment.
Overall, the information presented by the ABS shows that the risk of workplace fatalities increases with age. However, it is important to note that workplace fatalities can occur in all age groups. Employers must be aware that that proper safety procedures are developed from detailed risk assessments in the workplace.
Following this all workers (including Supervisors) should be trained in these procedures and supervised by competent persons to ensure that the tasks are completed as planned. This will assist greatly in preventing accidents and worker injuries in the workplace.
Our Safety Consultants are available to discuss any issue you may have related to reducing the hazards in the workplace. Having trained staff is but one element in the solution. Regular internal audits will ensure that the business is on track with safety procedures. Scheduled external safety audits are also necessary to check the overall state of the safety system. This is where our Safety Consultants can help. This is no different to how internal and external audits are completed on the financial systems of a business.
For more information on services we provide check out our Training Events page for upcoming training events being completed inhouse. Alternatively, one of our experienced safety consultants can go to your organisation and deliver the training.
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