HWSA National campaign to reduce manual task injuries

Wednesday, 05 November, 2008

Australia’s workplace safety authorities are joining forces to tackle the high injury rate of workers in the retail, wholesale, transport and storage industries.

The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) aim to reduce the injury rates resulting from manual tasks such as loading and unloading vehicles.

The campaign will specifically look at the road freight industry and its interface with the supply chain, which significantly contributes to workers compensation claims for muscular stress injuries. The campaign aims to build on preliminary studies WorkSafe Victoria has been carrying out, which indicate the industry believes that loading and unloading vehicles is a significant health and safety issue that needs to be addressed.

Workers compensation statistics show that injuries from manual tasks and moving objects are quite significant in the retail, wholesale, transport and storage industries and impose a considerable financial burden on industry as a result.

This campaign will help authorities to assist workplaces to reduce injury. As a result, this should help reduce the workers compensation costs to employers.

National injury statistics for the period 2005–06 show the national claim rate for road freight transport and road freight forwarding was 10.6 per 1000 workers in comparison to a claim rate of 7.0 claims per 1000 workers for all muscular stress claims in the retail, wholesale, transport and storage industries combined.

The 18-month campaign will include a survey of transport industry workers and employers in November 2008, the findings of which will be used to assist in developing appropriate information tools and products.

An education campaign involving site visits and workshops will be conducted in early 2009 to provide industry with the skills to manage manual task risks. Following the education campaign, workplace audits will be conducted late in 2009. Results are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2010.


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