AUSTRALIAN workers rate among the best dressed in the world with safety clothing and ancillary items, but when it comes to striding out, they have a habit of falling over!
The General Mat Company reports that more than 17% of workplace injuries are caused by “slips and falls on the same level”. A further 24% of all major workplace injuries 2007/2008 were back injuries.
Of all workplace back injuries, 92% of permanent disability injuries involved sprains and strains. (WorkCover NSW - Workers Compensation Statistics 2007/2008).
This is why anti-fatigue matting is so important.
“It is obvious employers spend a fortune protecting their workers from their feet up but apparently some ignore safety measures on the floor beneath them, the lack of which causes the fall,” Mr Michael Siegle, managing director of The General Mat Company (GMC) said.
“In New South Wales alone – with the WorkCover Authority of New South Wales increasing fines for unsafe floors by as much as five times what they were previously – some employers have great reason to take a hard look at the floor provided for their employees.”
Mr Siegle says WorkCover’s handbook “Preventing Slips”, trips and falls-guidance note contains numerous suggestions as to the best ways to combat the problem.
“In some ways, from the ground up, employees in the Australian workforce are kitted out to highest possible standard in the world but it is the floor beneath all this attire which has raised serious doubts about the safety of our workplaces”, Mr Siegle said.
The New South Wales Workers Compensation Statistics, 2007/2008 – the most recent survey for New South Wales – mentions falls, trips and slips as a major cause of injury.
With approximately 987 claims incurring some $16,245,000 gross incurred costs.
“Considering these are merely the figures for one state of Australia (NSW), one can only imagine the enormity of the injury factor on a national basis attributed to slips, trips and falls,” Mr Siegle said.
“Floors may always be in view, but as they are constantly under our feet we tend to overlook them and the importance of ensuring they are covered with material to embody safety.
Even merely standing on a floor without adequate cover has been responsible for many personal strain injuries which ended up as costly compensation claims”.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 states: “if persons, while working, are required to stand in a substantially the same position on a floor or brick, concrete, metal, stone or other similar material, the floor (or part where persons stand while working) must be covered, where practicable, with a semi-resilient, thermally non-conductive material.
See: www.matting.com.au or telephone 1800 625 388