If you’re a business owner or manager, do you know if you are in a high risk industry?

August 16th, 2010

If so do you know what a workplace injury would mean to your business?

The number of workplace fatalities in Australia decreased from 260 in 2006-07 to 232 in 2007-08. In NSW the incidence rate of fatalities has declined 58 per cent from 10.9 per 100,000 employees from 1987-88 to 4.6 per 100,000 employees in 2008-09.

In 2007-08 there were 131, 110 serious workers compensation claims. A typical serious workers compensation claim results in a worker taking nearly four weeks off work and a quarter of serious claims require 12 or more weeks off.

What would losing an employee for 3 months mean to your business?

Let’s explore these numbers a little more.

Are you in a high risk industry?
Fatalities are concentrated around 10 industries see the table below.

fatalities by industry

Table 1: Number of fatalities by Industry 2006-07

Source: Work related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, 2006-2007

Serious injuries are reported in 17 industries and include those above and wholesale trade, health & community service, accommodation, cafes & restaurants, electricity, gas & water supply, education, communication services, finances & insurance.

As a business owner what does all this mean? Should you be worried?

My advice is worry isn’t an active way to manage risk. If you are a business owner I’d ask better questions – Is there more I can do to protect the health and safety of my workers?

Let’s have a look at a different set of figures and determine what actually causes fatalities in NSW. This list nominates five mechanisms which have resulted in the most fatalities over the last ten years.

  1. Vehicle accident
  2. Hit by moving objects
  3. Fall from height
  4. Hit by falling objects
  5. Contact with electricity

If you are a business owner and your workers are exposed to these risks, it is time to look at your controls and re-evaluate their effectiveness. We will look at each of these areas and industry guidelines for managing these risks in future blogs.

If we look at serious workers compensation claims we discover that 43 percent relate to sprains and strains.

As a business owner have you got good manual handling practices in place? Every business has manual handling risks. It is time to look at your controls and re-evaluate their effectiveness. We will look at a number of tasks and the manual handling risks involved and evaluate industry/state guidelines for managing these risks in future blogs.

All workplaces risks can be managed and throughout this blog we will look at the way the high risk industries identify problems and the active ways to manage risks.

Next blog: “Vehicle accidents – are long distances and long hours the only risks?”