National Safe Work Month is a time for us to remember to help keep one another safe in the workplace, whether it’s an outdoor worksite or an office.
As a workers’ compensation lawyer, I’ve met too many clients who have been injured on the job and the majority of the accidents have been entirely preventable.
Negligent employers don’t set out to be negligent or cause serious injuries, but a lot of the time it is down to a lack of safe processes in place, or corner-cutting to save time and costs.
A carpenter I recently represented was only in his early 20s when he fell from unstable scaffolding 4m high and landed on his feet and back on concrete. He sustained multiple fractures in both feet and multiple fractures of his spine and underwent three surgeries. He lodged a WorkCover claim.
WorkSafe attended the scene following the accident and issued improvement notices. Later on, the employer was charged in the Magistrates’ Court for failing to provide a safe work environment. There were three charges in total.
The worker who was badly injured had not received any training from his employer to safely erect scaffolding and neither had his co-worker.
His employer did not hold relevant qualifications or training in erecting scaffolding and had not trained any of their employees. There were no safe work method statements prepared for this high-risk activity.
As my client was unable to work as carpenter, he retrained and is now working full-time as a surveyor - a less physically intensive vocation.
Workplace safety is an important issue because of the impact the injuries have on people’s lives. Prior to his injury, my client was extremely physically fit and enjoyed the gym, riding motorbikes and playing basketball. He is now unable to pursue these passions.
We lodged a serious injury application on his behalf, and he later accepted a compensation settlement without the need to issue court proceedings. He is doing his best to move on with his life.
As a worker, if you are being asked to take part in unsafe practices but don’t feel confident to challenge your manager, always ask if there is a safer way to do something. Employers have the responsibility to keep workers safe, but some are more committed than others. Safety should come first.
How we can help
Slater and Gordon are highly experienced in workers’ compensation and have expert teams in each state we operate. Our teams understand the devastating impact a workplace injury can have on health and well-being: we’re committed to helping you get access to your full entitlements to help you get your life back on track.
We're proud to support our clients with leading, affordable legal services, including through our 'No Win, No Fee' offer*, as well as a free initial appointment for workers' compensation cases**. We also offer free counselling support if needed.
If you or a loved one have been injured in the workplace, contact us online or call 1800 555 777.
We're here to help.