Manage hazards and risks associated with musculoskeletal injuries, urges WorkSafe


Photo: Milius007, Pixabay

Musculoskeletal injury is one of the most common injuries in Australian workplaces, especially among construction workers.

Because of this, builders and contractors are being encouraged to do more to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

WorkSafe inspectors will conduct inspections in the coming weeks to ensure sites are managing the hazards and risks associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are usually caused by manual handling jobs such as lifting heavy or awkward loads, or slips and trips while moving around a work site.

In the past five years, WorkSafe Victoria accepted over 6,200 injury claims made by construction workers for MSDs. Around 60 percent of those workers needed more than four weeks off work.

“A soft tissue injury to a back, shoulder, or wrist can be long-term, debilitating and often career-ending,” said WorkSafe Construction Program Manager Dermot Moody.

“The frustrating part is that most of these injuries are easily preventable and don’t require a great deal of time or money to reduce the risk.”

He urged all building industry employers to re-evaluate the effectiveness of their injury prevention strategies.

“Don’t leave safety to chance or so-called ‘common sense’. Be proactive and get appropriate controls in place before an incident occurs rather than after the fact,” said Mr. Moody.

WorkSafe offers the following tip to prevent musculoskeletal injuries:

  • Utilise cranes, material hoists, forklifts and trolleys in moving materials around the site
  • Ensure that load shifting equipment is in good condition
  • Use job rotation/work variation to reduce exposure to repetitive work, or work that requires significant force
  • Ensure walking surfaces are level, dry and free from mud to prevent trips and falls
  • Install ramps where surface level changes
  • Carry out regular site clean ups and inspections

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