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One-in-three Queensland workers spot safety hazards

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One-in-three Queensland workers (33 per cent) have witnessed unsafe practices at work, while one-in-six (18 per cent) have seen safety concerns being ignored, new research has revealed.

The research, commissioned by Slater and Gordon, surveyed more than 2,000 employed Australians.

Of the capital cities, Brisbane had the highest proportion of workers (17 per cent) who had witnessed someone being disregarded after raising a safety concern (followed by Melbourne, 16 per cent; Perth, 16 per cent; Sydney, 15 per cent; and Adelaide 15 per cent).

Slater and Gordon Queensland General Manager Karen Simpson said employers have a responsibility to ensure they are listening to employees and their unions when safety concerns are being raised.

“Our research revealed Queenslanders were on par with the national average when it comes to identifying safety issues in the workplace, but they feel they’re not being listened to,” Ms Simpson said.

“It’s encouraging to see Queensland workers have their eyes open, but employers have a responsibility to ensure proper safety policies and procedures are in place.

“Workplace accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and almost always affect numerous lives. We owe it to workers and their families to make sure safety concerns are not swept under the rug.”

Common concerns identified by the workers surveyed included:

  • Understaffing and high workloads
  • Lack of training
  • Broken or faulty equipment
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Trip or fall hazards
  • Inadequate personal protective equipment
  • Untested and untagged electrical equipment
  • Unsafe driving (speeding and fatigue)
  • Unlicensed forklift operation
  • Improper chemical management

Ms Simpson said workplace injuries were almost always preventable.

“Hindsight can be a useful tool for improving workplace safety, but it doesn’t change the reality of thousands of workers dealing with injuries suffered at work.

“Up-to-date safety systems, risk management plans and regular reviews are all incredibly important in ensuring every Australian makes it home safe at the end of the day."

  • 18 per cent of Queensland workers saw a workplace hazard being ignored, while 33 per were aware of a safety issue.
  • 16 per cent of New South Wales workers saw a workplace hazard being ignored, while 34 per were aware of a safety issue.
  • 16 per cent of Western Australian workers saw a workplace hazard being ignored, while 38 per were aware of a safety issue.
  • 16 per cent of Victorian workers saw a workplace hazard being ignored, while 32 per were aware of a safety issue.
  • 15 per cent of South Australian workers saw a workplace hazard being ignored, while 33 per were aware of a safety issue.