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Your place of work should be safe at all times

It is an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace and system of work. However, as a worker it is important to immediately report any workplace hazards or dangerous incidents you witness or are involved in to your employer or trade union representative.

Some examples of common workplace hazards that should be reported include:

Working at heights

Working at heights is inherently risky. You are more vulnerable if you fall from a height, as your injuries are likely to be more significant than a fall at ground level. It is also risky for other workers below, as things dropped from a height can cause serious injury to a person below. Falls from ladders are also particularly common on construction sites.

Safety gear such as a hard hat and harness should always be worn when working at significant heights. Scaffolding should always be installed by a licensed scaffolder. Site supervisors should always ensure that tasks are carried out using the appropriate equipment and shortcuts should be avoided.

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Noisy environments

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors; the most common would be exposure to excessive noise levels at work. This can also be known as industrial deafness, which is the result of working in a noisy environment over a period of time.

Generally, the person who suffers from hearing loss is the last to realise that they have a problem. The reason for this is that every time someone is exposed to excessive noise levels, they will lose a tiny amount of their hearing. With each tiny amount of hearing loss the brain makes a tiny adjustment.

Compensation for hearing loss or industrial deafness due to noisy employment is payable across all states in Australia.

Work involving repetitive movement

A Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, is an injury that occurs as a result of repeating a movement or series of movements from being in an awkward position over a prolonged period of time, which causes strain on the body resulting in soft tissue damage.

A repetitive strain injury often involves the upper or lower back, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands or ankles. Symptoms commonly occur in the workplace, and are particularly associated with very physically repetitive jobs such as:

  • Factory line work
  • Garment production
  • Loading/unloading jobs
  • Manual work such as bricklaying

Office workers also have a high tendency for RSI symptoms in the neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists due to prolonged computer use. A badly designed work space can greatly contribute to the risk of developing an RSI.

Dangers on construction sites

Constructions sites are, by their nature, risky environments. Construction sites are often large areas with many different trades operating at the same time, using a range of machinery and tools. They are also noisy environments where workers can develop industrial deafness.

Joint and muscle strains or conditions, sprains and cuts or open wounds tend to be the most frequent types of injury on constructions sites, and injuries most frequently result from lifting, pulling or pushing an object or from being hit or cut by an object.

Heavy, awkward or repetitive lifting

A lifting injury is a common work-related injury. Lifting injuries usually occur when a worker either lifts an object that it too heavy or lifts an object awkwardly, causing strain on their body. Common lifting injuries include lower back, neck and shoulder strains.

Some examples of lifting injuries include:

  • A delivery driver injuring his lower back while loading parcels into the back of his delivery van;
  • A worker on a car manufacturing process line injuring his left shoulder, while moving car doors off the line;
  • A personal care attendant at an aged care facility injuring her lower back when attempting to transfer a resident from their bed to a chair.

A lifting injury can be caused by an acute episode or be the result of repetitive lifting over a prolonged period of time. A poorly designed or congested work area can contribute to lifting injuries by forcing workers to assume awkward positions when lifting items.

Speak to us today

If you have suffered any injury or illness as a result of your work - whether it's listed above or not - you may be entitled to compensation. Strict time limits apply to make a claim. Please contact us for advice about making a claim to ensure your rights are protected.

Our priority at Slater and Gordon is to ensure you:

  • Feel supported through the workers compensation process

  • Understand your rights and entitlements

  • Assist you with disputes which may arise with the workcover insurer

  • Maximise your compensation

  • Provide you with clear and accurate advice about your prospects of success

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You should contact us if:

  • You have suffered an injury at work

  • You have suffered a flare-up of an existing injury or disease whilst at work

  • You have suffered a psychological injury at work

  • You want to know more about your potential to obtain lump sum compensation

  • Your workcover claim has been rejected

  • Your employer is pressuring you to return to work

  • The insurer won't pay for a particular expense

  • You've never received advice about a workplace injury

  • You want to know where you stand within the law

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