According to Tasmanian unions, tougher fines under the new workplace laws will help to continue a downward trend in workplace injuries and fatalities.
According to the figures released as part of the launch of WorkSafe month, we are seeing a decline in the number of Tasmanian workers injured at work.
This welcomed reduction in injuries is believed to be linked to new laws which include higher fines for OH&S breaches and offences.
According to Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne, we saw 378 less injuries in 2012 in Tasmania than we did in 2011. He is pleased that we have now recorded less than 9000 injuries in a year and only 4 Tasmanians have died on the job in the past year.
Sadly the construction sector is lagging behind others in safety, with farming and construction recording the highest injury and fatality rates in Tasmania.
This post from Abc.net.au explains,
Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne says there were 8,934 injury reports last year, 378 fewer than the year before.
“For the first time we’ve dipped below 9,000 injuries per year,” he said.
Four Tasmanians have been killed at work in the past year.
New workplace laws came into effect this year.
Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins says they are helping combat an alarming culture.
“Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.
But Mr Harkins says Tasmania is still the second worst performing state behind Queensland.
Most injuries and deaths occur in construction and farming jobs.
The article goes on to offer a cautionary tale for readers about a Tasmanian worker who was injured at work. The worker explains how tedious the process of recovery from a workplace injury can be especially from more serious injuries which affect not only workers health and safety but their family lives and ability to make a living as well. In fact injury claims have gotten so common that insurance rates have skyrocketed this year. Often workers who are injured aren’t able to continue in the position they are in when the incident occurs because of a debilitating or permanent injury.
Read what the post’s author went on to state:
Last year, Chris Dornauf spent an agonising hour and a half with his arm caught in the conveyor belt of a potato grader.
He says recovering from a workplace injury is a slow process.
Cut all five nerves, or five tendons and two of the main arteries,” he said.
After eight surgeries and with more to come, he still has not regained the use of his arm.
He is now able to drive trucks instead of working the farm, but says he is more aware of what might go wrong.
“When you stand back and look at it, you think about how dangerous things are,” he said.
“It’s a big, it’s a lot different now.”
Last week, a Hobart man injured at work was awarded the state’s highest compensation payout of $7.5 million.