Injury Hotspots Broken Down by Industry and Job

Have you ever wondered what the most common injuries sustained in your industry and specific job are?

WorkSafe Victoria has a useful and informative tool which allows you to find out information about the most common injuries for your job, giving you a sector specific view of harm.

For example construction carpenters face 6 common hazards – manual handling of construction materials, noise, slips,trips and falls, using hand tools, working at ground/floor level, working overhead or above shoulders.

These hazards commonly result in hand/finger injuries, back injuries, shoulder, knee, leg, ear and wrist/forearm injuries, these are called ‘injury hotspots’. The WorkSafe resource provides more advice on avoiding these injury hotspots.

For the construction industry there is also injury hotspot information for concreters, electricians, heating/airconditioning installation, labourers, painters, plasterers, plumbers and roofers.

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Controlling Noise Exposure at Work Crucial to Safety

hearing protection

With Hearing Awareness Week having just ended its important that we put some of the knowledge gained into action, particularly when it comes to controlling noise exposure in the workplace.

Remember 37 per cent of haring loss is due to noise injury and is preventable. Also keep in mind that once you have lost hearing, it cannot be regained, so prevention of hearing loss is crucial.

In order to control noise in the workplace employers must

  1. Eliminate the source of the noise
  2. Buy quieter machinery
  3. Use administrative controls such as training staff and job rotation to control noise
  4. Provide workers with PPE and train them on its use

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WorkCover Investigating Construction Site Fall

workcover nsw

The workplace incident that took place on Thursday morning is under investigation by WorkCover.

A man was seriously hurt after he fell at a construction site in Sydney. He sustained injuries to the neck and is being treated in hospital.

Falls contribute to a large number of workplace injuries, especially in the construction industry, which is why this incident is of such significance.

Click here for more.

Construction Hazards that Necessitate White Card Training

In addition to fulfilling a mandatory legal requirement, completing the white card course is important for construction workers to ensure they are familiar with the hazards presented by construction work.

Every site is different and some hazards may be present on one which aren’t present on another, that is precisely why general construction safety training is necessary, to ensure workers are educated on the most common hazards that exist whether or not they have come across the hazard before.

One of the hazards covered by general construction safety training, known as the white card is electrical hazards because this is one of the most common hazards that workers will be forced to contend with during building activities. Sadly the death toll due to electrical hazards is high especially on construction sites.

A common cause of injury and death on construction sites is electric shocks. Workers can be exposed to various hazards that may result in electrical shocks and workers need to be aware of all of them and how to control these hazards if necessary. That is why White Card training is so important.

One of those hazards is contact with overhead power lines. Accidental contact with live overhead power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries every year. People are also harmed when a person or object gets too close to a line and a flashover occurs. Work involving high vehicles or long equipment is particularly high risk.

All electrical hazards need to be identified before work begins and the risks associated with the hazards need to be addressed. Once the risk to workers is assessed, these hazards should be eliminated – this however is not always practicable. Activities associated with electrical shocks should be substituted with a less hazardous activity if possible and if not, the risk associated with them should be minimised. Implementing the appropriate control measures to minimise the risks is vital to preventing worker injuries as is ensuring workers are efficiently trained on these hazards and control measures.

An incident which occurred recently is an example of why electrical hazards should be taken seriously on building sites and why safety training is so important. The accident happened when a man was electrocuted by power lines while working on the Pacific Palms network near Forster. The man was an employee of Essential Energy and died after he received an electric shock on Monday morning last week. The 47 year old man was engaged in work around 10:30am on Monday when the accident occurred. Although emergency personnel rushed to the scene to administer first aid the man could not be revived.

An article on went on to explain:

“Our deepest condolences are with the family, loved ones and work mates of our employee,” an Essential Energy spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death.

“My thoughts go out to the employee’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” he said in a statement.

Essential Energy is working with NSW Police and WorkCover to determine the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

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Construction Hazards: Danger of Unqualified Workers Handling Asbestos

Asbestos has been a major issue in Australia for a number of years, especially because we have recorded some of the highest numbers of asbestos related diseases such as Mesothelioma in the world here.

When unqualified or inexperienced workers attempt to remove asbestos or are exposed to building materials that contain asbestos, they can present a risk to others and themselves. They do this by allowing the hazardous asbestos fibres to enter and contaminate the air, causing it to be inhaled by people and cause a health problem later on.

One of the biggest issues surrounding asbestos in the construction industry is sprayed or friable asbestos which was previously used in building materials until the 1970s. Construction workers and tradespeople may become exposed to high concentrations of asbestos fibres during renovations and repairs to older buildings. If they have not received the appropriate training, they should not attempt to work with or move this material. The environment and work methods of these occupations are more difficult to control than fixed workplaces. However, most tradespeople are trained in the proper handling of materials that contain asbestos.

Even workers who have not received the appropriate general construction safety training may present a risk because asbestos containing material may be disturbed during renovations which can be released into the atmosphere to be inhaled or digested and affect other workers as well. This is why all workers must undergo their White Card, general construction safety training and only qualified workers should be tasked with its removal.

Numerous risks also exist for workers in the construction industry who are not informed before work begins that asbestos may be present. Previously workers in these industries were exposed to 100 – 1,000 times more asbestos than today’s workers are, thankfully now strict standards limit workers’ exposure. The ban of most asbestos has minimised the risks of exposure for construction workers but during renovations and rebuilds the risk still exists.

Employers must warn workers in advance if the site they are working on may contain asbestos materials. If the asbestos fibres stay enclosed or tightly bound in a product, health risks are dramatically reduced. But when these fibres are disturbed and released they can be deadly over time.

Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air you breathe. How exposure to asbestos can affect you depends on the amount of asbestos fibres in the air, how long your exposure lasts, how often you were exposed, the size of the asbestos fibres inhaled, amount of time since your first exposure and the type of asbestos fibre inhaled.

Over time asbestos that you were previously exposed to may cause a terminal illness. When inhaled in significant quantities asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and cancer of the larynx.

Asbestosis is when scarring of the lungs occurs and makes breathing difficult.  Mesothelioma, another common asbestos related disease is an otherwise rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity.  Lung cancer, cancer of the larynx and ovarian cancer can also result over time.

Those workers who are smokers are particularly at risk if smoking is combined with asbestos inhalation because it contributes to lung cancer.