SAFER ON SITE
Injuries in decline
WORKPLACE safety is now on the improve in two of the nation’s most dangerous industries.
The construction and mining sectors each record a national average of 86 injuries for every 1000 workers employed in the sector. That is almost 25 per cent higher than the rate for all workers of 69 injuries for every 1000 workers.
The Safe Work Australia figures show only agriculture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing, transport and storage record more injuries each year.
There has been a decline in the number of injury claims made in both industries in the past five years as companies move to make workplaces safer for staff.
The number of serious mining claims in South Australia has reduced from 21.5 for every 1000 workers in 2003/04 to 11.3 for every 1000 workers in 2007/08.
Serious claims in SA’s construction industry have reduced from 33.5 for every 1000 workers to 23.6 for every 1000 workers in the same period.
Safe Work Australia knowledge management assistant director Amelia Huang says construction is one of five industries to receive priority attention in the national occupational health and safety strategy. ‘‘(Mining) only employs about 1 per cent of the workforce. It has attracted attention, however, because of the incidence rate of workers’ compensation claims,’’ she says.
‘‘Construction and mining are dangerous industries because of the inherent nature of the work they are involved in, which entails working in dangerous conditions, like at heights, underground and using heavy machinery.’’
Mining and construction recruitment firm WorkPac has 250,000 employees available for long-term and short-term work across Australia.
Adelaide business centre manager Simon Stewart says workplace safety is a daily issue for workers, while an outstanding safety record is linked to a business’s bottom line.
He says it created a seven-step safety process to minimise the risks of injury to staff.
It has helped to ensure no staff are killed at work and that the number of hours lost to injury has reduced by 50 per cent each year, he says.
‘‘We aim to look after our people. They’re a valuable resource and if they are injured we want them to get the best care as quickly as possible,’’ he says.
The seven steps include keeping close tabs on worker qualifications and licences, performing regular site checks, making safety tests and instruction part of the recruitment process and reviewing incidents to identify issues.
‘‘There’s no magic bullet but most accidents are preventable if you do the basics and do them well,’’ Mr Stewart says.
WorkPac recruitment co-ordinator team leader Dale Tidswell kits out Tony Wild in high-visibility safety gear.