It seems that no matter how much work is done to raise awareness, tradies still experience a disproportionately high level of injury risk. Research shows that a full 60 percent of serious injury claims in Australia come from tradies. Businesses might be completing their requires SWMS documents, and the tradies may well be wearing protective equipment (flame resistant clothing, arc flash equipment, and so on), but in many cases there is still more that can be done to provide a properly safe environment to work in.
Some of the most common causes of injury include:
1) Strains from handling objects
A common issue that affects just about every trade is injuries that come from handling heavy equipment. From plumbers to electricians, and from people in construction through to landscaping, as many as one in three workplace injuries are muscular stress-related, with the back (both upper and lower) accounting for around half of those injuries.
Managing heavy equipment is an inherent part of many of these jobs, and yet the importance of learning how to lift properly isn’t communicated in the workplace as well as it needs to be.
2) Falls, trips and slips
Environments that feature wet floors, poor lighting, damaged flooring, or clutter on the ground can easily lead to trips and falls, and subsequent injury. This occurs more often than you think – around 20 per cent of injuries happen this way, and environments should be properly surveyed for the risk of tripping before work commences.
3) Fractures and wounds
Whether it’s working with sharp equipment, power tools, heavy objects or simply working in high risk environments, fractures and wounds are an ever-present threat for the typical tradie. The typical SWMS document will highlight all of the risks in the environment, and proper protective equipment (for example, the flame resistant clothing or arc flash equipment) can help to minimise both the risk, and the amount of damage done if an accident occurs. Given the potential severity of these kinds of injuries, additional risk mitigation steps should always be high priority.
The environments that tradies work in can actually make them more susceptible to disease, with exposure potentially causing everything from digestive issues to skin irritations and infections or parasitic diseases. Here, too, identifying the risks via SWMS documents, and then having adequate protective gear is an important step to mitigate this risk.
Protecting your tradies from risks at the work site isn’t just important from a compliance and human point of view. It makes good business sense too, since injuries can cause you to lose great employees for long periods, and potentially indefinitely. Speak to the expect team at NECA. Not only do we provide end-to-end solutions for protecting your people, but our consultative approach, as experts in workplace safety, will help you to drive even better practices across your business.
For specialist advice and recommendations, contact NECA Trade Services.
Contact us today at 1300 361 099 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: safetyspecialists.com.au