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Shift workers at high risk of accidents

Depending on the industry, workers are exposed to different safety obstacles and managers therefore need to tailor a unique approach to staff work health and safety training and inductions for staff.

This risk was recently demonstrated by data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)* on the injury rate across Australia. The study revealed that nearly a third (30 per cent) of injured workers were operating on a shift, representing 156,000 injuries across the country.

Among the most at-risk industries were among machinery operators and drivers, with an accident rate of 88 per 1,000 workers in the 12 months the survey covered.

Other dangerous areas included community and personal services and technicians and trade workers. Both of these sectors saw injury rates above 70 per 1,000 employees. 

The most common cause of injury was from lifting, pushing or pulling during work. This activity accounted for 20 per cent of total injuries. Being hit by a moving object was also a major cause of injury, accounting for 13 per cent of the total injuries sustained by Australian workers.

The result of these injuries was a significant drain on the productivity of businesses. In fact, 61 per cent of respondents reported they had to take time off work as a result of these injuries. Of these, 23 per cent took one to four days off work, while 29 per cent reported taking more than five days off.

Injuries are also having a long-term impact on workers, with a third of those who found new work following an accident forced to find a new position due to their injuries.

While injuries are clearly continuing to impact on workers, there are ways to begin addressing these risks. One solution is to use WorkPro's dedicated occupational heath and safety training software. This makes it easy to implement an organisation-wide approach to safety that can also be customised to suit the risk analysis of a company and industry.

The benefit of taking this approach is that workers, no matter what position they are in, will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to complete their work safely.

*ABS, Work-Related Injuries, Australia, July 2013 TO June 2014, released November 19, 2014.

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