Drop in work injury claims in Latrobe City

Workplace injury claims across Latrobe City are on the decline.

WorkSafe Victoria has reported a 21 per cent decrease in workplace injury claims from the district in the past five years, with the number of claims dropping from 489 in 2011 to 386 in 2015.

The organisation is currently conducting workplace inspections across Morwell, as part of its SafeTowns program and WorkSafe Victoria Regional Operations Manager Phil Grimson said there was still room for improvement.

Mr Grimson said areas of concern were musculoskeletal and muscle and tendon injuries, consistent with poor manual handling.

He said the majority of the Valley’s claims came from the manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance, and construction industries.

“These industries have lots of repetitive lifting, carrying, twisting and bending, which is why manual handling is the cause of a large number of claims,” Mr Grimson said.

Construction was deemed a high-risk industry because sites were “dynamic” and changed from day to day.

“Falls from heights are far too common, as are slips, trips and falls caused by poor site housekeeping. Power tools also cause many injuries,” Mr Grimson said.

He said safety was paramount in every industry, regardless of its associated risks.

“A serious injury or fatality not only affects the worker involved, but their family, friends, colleagues and the business itself. It is critical that safety is made a priority in all workplaces,” Mr Grimson said.

He said consultation was the first step local employers could take in protecting their staff.

“Talking to your workers about safety is a legal requirement and is also smart management,” Mr Grimson said.

“Your workers can make a significant contribution to improving workplace health and safety, and regular, proactive consultation can help identify issues in the workplace and build a strong commitment to health and safety.”

The SafeTowns program takes place three to four times a year, each time in different locations across the state.

Once a town has been selected, an in-depth information session for employers is provided, where they are given practical advice about workplace issues.

A team of inspectors then spends a week in the town inspecting businesses and issuing infringement notices.

Once WorkSafe concludes its Morwell inspections, it will have more up-to-date statistics for the region.

More information on the initiative can be found at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/safety-and-prevention/making-your-workplace-safer/safe-towns