Personal injuries can happen anywhere – burning yourself on the stove, rolling your ankle while you’re walking the dog, or getting a paper cut while you’re reading War and Peace. But the majority of personal injuries happen in the workplace.
Workplace injuries can cause more than just a headache. In fact, they can cost businesses millions in lost productivity and compensation. According to data from Safe Work Australia, workplace injuries can cost the Australian economy around $60 million each year. That’s huge.
So, what are some of the most common workplace injuries? And how can they be avoided? Let’s jump in.
1. Strains and sprains
The most common injury seen in Australian workplaces is, hands down, strains and sprains. These injuries usually occur when an employee is required to lift, push or carry something heavy, which then puts a strain on their muscles. These sorts of injuries can be avoided by utilising proper lifting techniques, like bending at the knees and lifting from the legs, and keeping your back straight.
2. Falls, trips and slips
If your job requires you to work at a height, on a ladder or cherry picker, you must ensure you’ve received proper training on safe practices from your employer to avoid falling from a height. Trips and slips are also common occurrences around the workplace. To avoid serious injury, encourage your team to remove tripping hazards from walkways, mop up spills when they occur, and keep a clean working environment.
Fractures tend to occur when a worker has tripped, fallen, or gets a limb caught in a piece of machinery. Incidents like this are surprisingly common in Australia, making up around 11% of compensation claims. These sorts of injuries can be avoided by ensuring tripping hazards are removed from walkways, appropriate non-slip footwear is worn at all times, and any spills are cleaned up promptly.
4. Wounds and lacerations
Working around sharp objects, like kitchen knives, power tools or machinery? Make sure you’re dressed in protective clothing and have received sufficient training from your employer on how to operate equipment safely. Between 2018-19, over 17,000 serious claims were made for injuries like these.
5. Mental health conditions
These are the workplace injuries you can’t see, yet they can be the most damaging. Mental health conditions cover incidents like workplace bullying and overwork, and can be detrimental to both the employee and the employer. Poor mental health in the workplace can be avoided by providing a positive work environment, with regular scheduled breaks, one-on-one catchups, and staff activities to boost low morale.
What should I do if I’m injured at my workplace?
If you injure yourself at work, the first step is to follow your normal workplace injury procedure and seek medical attention if required.
If you’ve been injured at work through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to workers compensation. This will cover the cost of any approved medical treatment, rehab, and loss of wages.
The workers’ compensation process, however, can be confusing or overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with a serious injury or illness.
Here at Gouldson, your wellbeing is our top priority, so we’ll take care of the paperwork so you can focus on what’s most important: your recovery. Getting you back on your feet – and back to work when you’re ready – is our ultimate goal.