Top 5 Most Common Injuries in the Workplace and Steps to Avoid Them

Know the most common causes of work related injuries in Queensland and tips for avoiding common workplace accidents.
Most common injuries in the workplace and how to avoid them

Injured at work? Did you know that if a workplace injury occurs, research has shown that the employee bears the brunt of the cost?

Your employer has a legal duty to provide a safe work environment; sadly, accidents happen, and workers can suffer serious injuries like broken bones, internal organ damage, musculoskeletal disorders, open wounds, and other injuries.

Workers Compensation: Your Rights

Fortunately, as a worker in Queensland, you are insured by QLD WorkCover and can make a workers’ compensation claim if you suffer a work-related injury or illness. However, your weekly benefits are a percentage of your usual wage, not your full income.

Australian Statistics for Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries still happen even though your employer is legally obligated to provide you with a safe and healthy working environment. In a statistical report produced by Safe Work Australia, it was found that there were a total of 104,770 personal injury claims for a work-related incident in 2017. Of these personal injury claims:

  • Labourers lodged 25% of workers’ compensation claims.
  • 18% by Technicians and Trades Workers
  • 16% by Community and Personal Service Workers

So, how can you reduce your risk of personal injury at work? A good place to start is to know the hazards associated with your line of work and understand your rights regarding work health and safety.

Below, we examine the leading causes of common workplace injuries and provide tips and suggestions on how to avoid them.

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1. Body Stressing / Repetitive Strain (39.3%)

The most typical type of workplace injury that employees experience is musculoskeletal injuries and repetitive strain injury (RSI). RSI is often associated with hands and wrists, but repetitive strain also causes severe neck and back injury.

While repetitive motion can cause musculoskeletal disorders, they are also triggered by pulling, pushing, and lifting hazards. Risky manual lifting is to blame for more than half of upper-limb injuries.

Repetitive strain injuries occur in multiple industries but are often associated with white-collar workers who work mainly on a computer doing repetitive tasks. Both white and blue-collar employees are at risk of developing RSI, as are workers in the age range of 35 to 54. If your job requires you to do these tasks, you have a higher risk:

  • Performing a repetitive motion that stresses your muscles
  • Having a prior injury in that area of your body
  • Keeping the same physical position for an extended period
  • Maintaining bad posture while working
  • Having overall poor physical health

If you work in these industries, you are more at risk of acquiring RSI:

  • Hairdressing and beauty
  • Construction and mining
  • Manufacturing on an assembly line
  • Plumbing and Electrical
  • Using a keyboard for extended periods
  • Massage and other physical therapy
  • Packing Goods
  • Playing a musical instrument

You can prevent muscular and joint stress by

  • Providing adequate training and supervision for carrying out tasks (such as training for proper lifting techniques)
  • Having a qualified Work Health and Safety inspector regularly check workstations for the risk of muscular stress
  • Practicing good posture and taking regular breaks.

2. Falls, Trips and Slips (23%)

Are you aware that the number two causes of workplace injuries in Queensland are slips, trips, and falls? These kinds of accidents account for nearly a third of all reported occupational injuries. Generally, a work-related injury due to a slip, trip or fall is frequently caused by physical work conditions, such as:

  • Poor lighting
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Wrong footwear

And physical hazards such as:

  • Cabling
  • Goods not stored

And behavioural factors such as:

  • Running instead of walking
  • Distracted by electronic devices
  • Lack of Sleep

Typical physical damage from a slip, trip or fall includes:

Back and spine injuries are a common outcome of an accident at work caused by a slip, trip or fall.

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3. Toppling incidents / being hit by moving objects (15.4%)

Safe Work Australia’s report found that falling objects accounted for 29% of all workplace fatalities, making it the second most common cause after vehicle accidents in 2016.

If you operate with heavy objects or work in an environment with shelves, you may be susceptible to serious injuries like abrasions, concussions, and the like. To prevent such injuries, you must follow the Workplace Health and Safety procedures implemented by your employer and ensure you wear the correct safety gear.

More about work accident claims >

4. Psychological or Mental Health Injuries (5.8%)

The causes of mental health conditions at work are many and varied. Workplace stress and trauma can originate from several circumstances.

  • Workplace bullying and harassment
  • Exposure to workplace violence
  • High-pressure working environment
  • Working too many hours
  • Poor job role clarity
  • Failure to manage change
  • Poor working conditions
  • Inability to control workplace behaviour
  • Micromanagement
  • Repetitive and Boring tasks

These factors can all contribute to high levels of stress, which, if prolonged, can lead to psychological or physical work-related injuries. Under Australian legislation, your employer has a duty to protect you from psychological stress. To prevent workplace mental stress, your employer should encourage regular breaks and create work processes that maintain good office morale for you and your colleagues.

More about workplace mental illness claims >

How do I get stress leave? >

5) Vehicle Incidents (2.4%)

Workplace accidents resulting from vehicle incidents are frequent causes of personal injury. This includes accidents such as:

These accidents can have profound implications. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that you wear seatbelts when driving and follow all other safety precautions your employer implements to protect your safety and health in the workplace.

More about car accident claims >

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About Workers Compensation Claims

When you are hurt at work, you can claim financial support, such as weekly payments and reimbursement of health care and rehabilitation costs. Generally, many injuries, illnesses, and mental health conditions qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Fortunately, Splatt Lawyers provides work-related injury legal services on a 100% no win no fee basis, which means you have no financial risk when making a workers’ compensation claim. There are no upfront costs, so start now by Calling 1800 700 125

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Guide to Workers Compensation Payouts

You could claim a workers’ compensation payout when the unexpected happens and you suffer occupational harm. Learn how this works. Check out our Comprehensive Guide to Claiming a Workers Compensation Payout >

Top Ideas for Minimising Your Risk of Workplace Accidents

Often, injuries at work happen when workplace safety is not the main focus. Your employer has a general duty of care to provide a safe and healthy workplace; however, all employees have an obligation to keep each other safe. Being active in raising awareness of risks in your workplace is an excellent place to start.

a) Workplace Health and Safety

Large employers typically have an official Workplace Health and Safety program that monitors injuries and takes steps to prevent them in the future. When workplace harm is documented in one place, employers can take action to minimise future risks.

b) Raise Workplace Risk Awareness

Understanding the circumstances in which a worker can be injured at work presents a chance to raise awareness. Training workers in safe manual handling procedures and monitoring their performance will help minimise risk. Ensuring employees take breaks and avoid distractions from devices can also be beneficial when performing risky tasks.

c) Work Health and Safety Audit

When organisations strive to reduce workplace injury rates, they often conduct a WHS risk assessment. This report seeks to document work hazards, measure risk and review the controls that are currently in place. By doing this, employers improve their workplace and provide a safer working environment.

infographic for avoiding work related injuries

What to Do If You Have a Work-Related Injury

Injured at work? You may be eligible to make a worker’s compensation claim if you suffer a workplace injury or illness. Workers compensation law can be complex and daunting, but you can get help from an expert workplace accident lawyer who can guide you through the process. At Splatt Lawyers, it’s free to know your legal rights. Get immediate support when you are injured at work – Call 1800 700 125.

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