Three injury myths busted by regulator

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has dispelled three safety myths to help employers reduce musculoskeletal injuries, which cost an average of more than $7000 per workers’ compensation claim.

Myth1: Musculoskeletal injuries are inevitable with manual work – The fact is that the risks associated with hazardous manual tasks must be controlled under WHS laws, and there are many practical ways of doing so, including by using mechanical aids like the Makinex Powered Hand Truck, which recently won the Safe Work Australia Award for Good Design.

WHSQ says that when developing control measures, duty holders should consider whether: the task can be fully or partly automated; goods can be delivered to the area of use to eliminate multiple handling; risks can be designed out of the workplace by, for example, adjusting bench heights to improve postures; and workflows can be reorganised to avoid high demands at the end of shifts.

Myth 2: Safety is just common sense – There is no common sense because people’s instincts vary greatly and change through experience, WHSQ says.

“Good sense is acquired through knowledge and experience. That’s why safety inductions, toolbox talks and regular communication between workers and line supervisors are all vital ingredients for making workplaces safe.”

Myth 3: WHS systems are rigid and hinder productivity – Work health and safety is often met with cynicism, but actually involves “finding safer, smarter and more cost-effective ways of getting work done”, the regulator says.

“If managers are struggling to identify and control or eliminate injury risks, the best thing they can do is start a conversation with their workers,” it says.

“Consultation results in managers getting a better idea of how tasks are currently done and teams can work together to identify solutions to complete the job safely”.

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