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Know when to speak up: 5 common workplace hazards

The Aussie workplace can be a dangerous workplace. Whether on a construction site, factory, hospitality venue, warehouse or somewhere completely different, it’s your job as an employer to provide a safe work zone and report any dangerous incidents or unsafe practices occurring at your place of business.

Workplace injuries are common, and often lead to enlisting the best solicitors Canberra has available, so it’s important to recognise these common workplace hazards in the event of you or your colleague being injured on the job:

1. Construction site risks

Construction sites have always been dangerous places to work and will likely continue to be in the future. There are many risks associated with working on a construction site, especially given they are often large spaces with numerous trades working at the one time.

This, of course, requires a wide range of tools and machinery to be used, making thorough communication imperative especially across the various trades onsite. 

What’s more, problems like muscle strain and industrial deafness are a risk on construction sites, with injuries typically resulting from pulling, pushing, lifting or being knocked by an object.

The best solicitors Canberra has can assist construction workers in the event of a workplace injury that keeps them out of work for some time.

2. Repetitive, awkward & heavy lifting

Lifting injuries are incredibly common in the workplace, and this is why there is a great emphasis on proper lifting practices across all industries that require lifting in some capacity.

Lifting injuries typically occur when the employee has attempted to lift something too heavy for them or not followed smart lifting procedures, with injuries to the lower and upper back common.

Lifting injuries in the workplace can include:

  • A hospitality worker injuring their lower back attempting to jerk-lift a heavy box of ingredients;
  • A construction labourer injuring their back by not following proper lifting requirements for material transport;
  • A care worker injuring their back attempting to move a patient from their bed to a wheelchair.

3. Heights

No one ever said working at heights wasn’t dangerous. People working at heights are far more susceptible to injury or death than those working on the ground, for you and the people working at ground level, especially when you consider that particular objects can be dropped from above.

For this reason, harnesses and safety gear should always be worn at height, as well as efficient scaffolding installed to ensure high worker safety.

4. Loud environments

Excessive noise levels in the workplace can lead to hearing loss, otherwise known as “industrial deafness”. People only gradually lose their hearing when exposed to excessive loud working environments, and this can make it hard for them to realise it at all.

Compensation is available for people who experience hearing loss due to excessively noisy working environments.

5. Repetitive stress movements

Repetitive Strain Injury (“RSI”) is common in workplaces where staff are required to perform a series of repetitive movements in an awkward position for a sustained period of time.

This continued stress on the body can lead to soft tissue damage of the following areas:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Lower back
  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Ankles
  • Elbows

There are numerous workplaces where RSI is a common hazard, including factory and warehouse work, as well as office spaces where employees spend hours seated at computers whilst typing for hours on end.

Know when you are at risk

These are the most common workplace hazards in Australian workplaces, and with millions of people working in industries where they are at risk, it’s important to continue following proper safety practices to safe your health and reporting any improper conduct.

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