More construction work leads to bigger emphasis on safety

A spate of construction scheduled around Queensland is driving a renewed focus on safety in the Sunshine State. WorkCover Queensland personnel are visiting Cairns employers to remind them of the importance of workplace injury cover.

WorkCover has been undertaking a state-wide education programme, hoping to raise awareness of issues around safety and workers’ compensation. This is currently timed to coincide with the arrival of the tourism season, as well as the $1.2 billion worth of construction planned for Queensland’s far north.

This not only means a high degree of construction activity around the region. It also means additional temporary and casual staff will be hired over the New Year period in order to cope with the increased workload. Both of these factors mean a higher potential for workplace injuries during this time.

“Workers in the construction and tourism industries have a high rate of risk with their jobs. Despite excellent training, safety policies and procedures, unfortunately accidents can happen,” said WorkCover Education and Compliance Manager Erin Leftwich in a November 24 release.

This initiative follows from a similar effort undertaken in September by the government organisation, when it visited construction, agriculture and retail industries in Townsville, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and more.

Indeed, both Queensland and the construction industry have much to focus on when it comes to worker safety. SafeWork Australia statistics show that, in 2010-11, Queensland had the highest rate of serious workers’ compensation claims, along with Tasmania, with 15 such claims per 1,000 workers.

Meanwhile, the construction industry had one of the highest fatality figures in the same period of time, with 42 deaths. It was below only the transport, postal and warehousing, and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, and had a fatality rate of 4.11 per 100,000 workers.

While WorkCover personnel were emphasising the importance of being aware of compensation entitlements, it’s useful to note it does not need to come to this. Having reliable, well-designed access equipment like platform ladders on site, as well as quality material handling supplies can do much to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place.