icare starts $3m fund for preventing construction injuries

Wednesday, 31 July, 2019

icare starts $3m fund for preventing construction injuries

People, organisations and associations with ideas for preventing injuries in the construction industry could access a share of $3 million in funding as part of a new initiative by NSW workers compensation provider icare.

The foundation is calling for expressions of interest, outlining ‘innovative’ and ‘scalable’ ideas that address the risks associated with construction sites and related work on at least one of three levels: individual risk-taking and other behaviours, supervision and site safety culture and industry-wide approaches that permeate through organisations down to the individual worker. Successful applicants could win a grant from icare’s Injury Prevention in Construction (IPIC) fund to implement their ideas.

“Construction sites are innately high-risk work environments”, requiring workers to operate machinery, handle electrical equipment and work at heights, according to icare Foundation General Manager Barney Smith. Additional challenges arise when multiple contractors are onsite at once.

“These are complex, industry-specific challenges that we need to address,” Smith said, adding that workplace incidents can have a ripple effect beyond the injured worker, affecting their family, workmates or the business itself. “We are hoping this fund can contribute towards reducing the human toll and social cost of serious injuries,” he said.

According to icare 2017–18 claims data, 45% of injury claims in the construction industry came from young workers, aged 19 to 32.

“Significant injuries early in a person’s career can not only lead to loss of current earnings, but also a reduction in future earning potential and their productive capacity. We’re really trying to address the root causes of unsafe behaviours and accidents, so we can reduce the number of injuries we’re seeing among our young workers,” Smith added. “We’re looking outside the square — beyond the construction industry — calling on innovators, behavioural specialists, tech developers, research institutes, peak bodies and industry leaders to partner one another, and bring their diversity of knowledge and ideas together to address injury prevention.”

Expressions of interest are open until 23 August 2019. Interested parties should explain their idea and how it will address the problem in 250 words or less and email foundation@icare.nsw.gov.au.

Image credit: © stock.adobe.com/au/lassedesignen

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