With October being National Safe Work Month in Australia, it’s an ideal time to assess the risks involved in serious injury in the workplace and consider whether your organisation’s profile places you in a category of higher risk in relation to a compensation claim.

When you stop and look at the makeup of your organisation, what do you see? Start by answering these simple questions:

  • Do you have workers in the over 50 age bracket?
  • Is a significant portion of your workforce made up of males?
  • Do you operate in the “Construction”, “Manufacturing”, “Transport, postal and warehousing” or “Manufacturing Trade” industries?
  • Do your workers share a workplace with moving objects or vehicles?
  • Are your workers themselves required to move around the workplace?

If you operate in the transport, postal or warehousing related sectors, it’s likely that a significant portion of your workforce fall in the 55 and over age bracket. This is according to information released by the Australian Government back in 2016, where over 25.4% of workers in transport, postal and warehousing roles were in this age bracket, much higher than the industry wide figure of 19.2% at the time*.

This information is particularly important when assessing workplace risk, especially relating to serious injury, along with additional key findings from a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2018-2019**, where they highlighted that:

  • “Construction”, “Manufacturing” and “Transport, postal and warehousing” were among the top 5 industries when it came to “Proportion of serious claims”.
  • Incidence rates were highest in the “Construction”, “Manufacturing”, “Transport, postal and warehousing” and “Manufacturing Trade” industries, with only “Agriculture, forestry and fishing” experiencing a higher rate of incidents.
  • Men had more serious claims than women.
  • 23% of serious claims resulted from falls, slips and trips of a person.
  • 16% of serious claims were a result of being hit by moving objects.
  • The age brackets that experienced the highest incidence rates for serious injury were 55 to 59 years, followed by 60 to 64 years and then 50 to 54 years.

Now take another look at your organisational risk in relation to a compensation claim. In our line of work, where we focus on assisting businesses mitigate risks associated with the movement of people and vehicles throughout our clients’ warehouses, factories and basements. We see first-hand the implications of these statistics and how they can impact on the likelihood that you will find yourselves involved in a workplace injury compensation claim.

It is our shared goal to mitigate the risk of injury resulting in such claims, reduce the number of work hours lost while a claim is processed, thus minimising costs associated with claims for those businesses we work with and believe the way to do that is through compliance. This can be achieved through the undertaking of a safety audit and implementation of a traffic management plan. While your organisation may already have a traffic management plan in place and the existence of safety line markings, we encourage you to take stock of the following:

  • When was the last time you conducted a slip-test on your warehouse line marking designed for foot traffic?
  • Is your warehouse line marking visibly wearing?
  • Is your safety hardware, such as bollards and wheel stops, showing signs of wear and tear?
  • Have your operations changed in the past couple of years resulting in the need for new safety line markings, such as new exclusion zones?

We challenge you during Safe Work Month to walk through your premises again and look at the quality of your existing safety line marking before actively taking steps to reduce the likelihood of a serious claim. And of course, our team are ready to assist you when you do, we’d be happy to share further tips on what to look out for.

Sources:
https://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2019/is_104
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/australian-workers-compensation-statistics-2018-19

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