Safe Work month opens with focus on workplace injury prevention

Tuesday, 06 October, 2009

Across Australia every year, it is estimated that more than 135,000 Australians are seriously injured at work and more than 260 die as a result of work-related injuries. The most recent figures (2005-2006) put the total economic cost of work-related injuries and illnesses to the Australian economy at about $57.5 billion, representing nearly 6% of gross domestic product.

The presiding member of the SafeWork SA Advisory Committee, Tom Phillips, says this toll can be substantially reduced through the adoption of safer work practices and a cooperative effort in the workplace.

Safe Work Month involves 260 free workshops to be held during the month of October, with a week devoted to each of three South Australian regional districts (North East, North West and South East).

A keynote address at the launch will be delivered by Graeme Drew, winner of the 2009 Australian of the Year - Local Hero Award. A professional fisherman, Drew has been instrumental in advancing sea safety from his home in Bremer Bay, Western Australia, since his nephew drowned in 2003.

Regional program highlights include:

  • Workshops to cater for the aquaculture, construction and mining industries
  • OneSteel Whyalla’s alcohol and drug-testing program
  • Nyrstar Port Pirie’s safety approach and ‘tenby 10’ project to reduce blood lead levels
  • A small business approach to managing safety
  • Identifying and dealing with asbestos
  • Working safely with electricity
  • Safe work at heights
  • Safer cattle handling through improved facilities

Phillips says the extensive regional coverage allows more South Australians access to information that will help make their workplaces and their working lives safer and healthier: “This year we hope to see this information turned into action that will benefit as many regional workplaces as possible.”

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