18 Jun 2018
The top construction injuries and how to avoid them

The top construction injuries and how to avoid them

Risk reduction is a vitally important part of the construction industry.

Although there have been significant reductions in the rate of injury (31 per cent) over the past decade, data from Safe Work Australia reveals around 12,600 Workers Compensation claims are accepted annually, equating to around 35 serious claims each day.[1]

Safe Work Australia defines a serious claim as an injury that results in a total absence from work of one week or more.  

The top construction injuries and how to avoid them

Tips to minimise on site hazards

Keeping safe on site and taking necessary precautions to prevent injury is a shared responsibility between employers and employees, says QBE Insurance National Product Manager for Construction, Dale Gleeson.

“A safe culture on a job site needs to be set from the top down and strongly encouraged to ensure all people working on site are properly equipped to make the right decisions when they’re doing their job,” he adds.

How to reduce injury on-site:

1. Lift and pull with correct technique

With 37 per cent of injuries related to body stress[2], it’s important to ensure employers and contractors are aware of safe lifting procedures, weight limitations and the importance of stretching or warming up before jobs that require strenuous physical labour.

“Every state or territory in Australia has a dedicated work health and safety authority with resources that explain best practice,” says Gleeson.

2. Take extra precaution at heights

“Climbing a ladder seems like an easy task. But with falls from ladders accounting for 30 per cent of injury in the construction industry[3], it’s clear that people may not be taking enough precaution,” Gleeson explains.

Tips from Safe Work Australia include ensuring the equipment is an industrial grade straight ladder, that it’s secured at the bottom on level ground and making sure there are three points of contact on the equipment always; two feet and at least one hand.[4]

The top construction injuries and how to avoid them

3. Eliminate distractions

“Slips, falls or trips mainly occur when people are distracted,” explains Gleeson.

“When people are carrying equipment, moving too fast, chatting with a colleague or looking at their mobile phone, it can take their focus away from ground conditions or potential trip hazards in their environment. A helpful tip is to focus on one task at a time.”

Surveying the conditions of the site every day and reminding employees to report unsafe conditions should also be prioritised, he adds.

1 https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/construction-industry-profile
2 https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/construction-industry-profile
3 https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/construction-industry-profile
4 https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/resources-and-publications/video-and-audio/safe-use-ladders

This advice is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. To decide if QBE’s products are right for you, please ensure you obtain and consider the Policy Wording or Product Disclosure Statements and Target Market Determinations, available online at QBE.com/au. Insurance issued and underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).

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