WorkCover Queensland is advising employers in the construction industry to focus on injury prevention as the industry gears up to take an anticipated end of year 2017 spike in workers’ compensation claims.
Kylie Walsh, Customer Experience Manager at WorkCover says data for Construction shows that claims in November 2016 were 33% higher than the number of claims made in November 2015. With an average claim cost of $11,519 per claim in that month, these numbers can have a significant impact on an employer’s premium and the construction industry as a whole. No one wants a premium rise!
Apparently, due to the physical nature of this industry, musculoskeletal injuries are high, representing about 40% of injuries, with wounds and lacerations accounting for about 33% (2016–2017). Here’s why it impacts premiums: The average paid days off work is 34 days! Injuries occur from either from an incident, or a condition that has perhaps worsened over time.
Why the big increase in claims?
WorkCover Queensland believes the increase in claims could be attributed to one or more of the following, all of which could apply to brick and blocklayers as well as other trades, especially when there is plenty of work around:
- An increase in workload,
- Cutting corners to meet deadlines, therefore jeopardising safety,
- Neglected injuries worsening over time,
- Fatigue after a busy year, and
- De-conditioned bodies – if a task hasn’t been performed for a while.
What can I do now to help prevent injuries on the team?
Bricklaying employers can implement all of these suggestions from Kylie’s team at WorkCover Queensland:
- Take Advice from an Allied Health Professional about strategies to reduce the risk of a strain or sprain
- Use an Occupational Therapist to discuss any pain or niggle to try and prevent them getting worse
- Run a refresher talk on correct workplace safety procedures, lifting techniques and manual handling etc. Here are some resources to help you.
- Plan workloads and shifts to ensure appropriate workloads per worker,
- Meet workers regularly – a short catch up to discuss workload and identify any possible injury hotspots.
- Hire an apprentice to spread the workload: From 1 July 2017 wages paid to bricklaying apprentices during the course of their apprenticeship are no longer included in your premium calculation —resulting in a discounted premium for those who employ apprentices. Find out more here.
Safe working guys,
ABBTF Regional Manager