Falls, trips and slips increase by 50%

Monday, 13 November, 2006

Figures show that more than 25,000 new workers compensation cases each year are due to falls, trips and slips.

This has pushed the median time lost to such injuries at 4.2 weeks, with an average cost of $4500, which is 50% higher than seven years ago.

Fall, trip and slip incidents result in such injuries as sprains or strains of joints or adjacent muscles. There is potential for these statistics to further increase as Australia's ageing workforce will become more prone to such incidents.

One industry expert has suggested that that the floor has become a "blind spot" when it comes to industrial safety, with employers placing too much emphasis higher up.

"Employers here are generally very good about providing hazard signs, protective clothing, eye shields and so on. But they are still far less aware of the appropriate flooring and preventing problems developing underfoot.

"All the protective clothing isn't going to save you if you fall flat on your back," said Michael Siegle of the General Mat Company, who provides expert witness testimony in compensation claims involving flooring.

Siegle suggests that the Christmas closedown period is an ideal time to do a safety audit of flooring.

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