As outlined by SafeWork Australia, Healthcare and Social Assistance workers are a high risk group due to the very nature of the work they do on a daily basis. Although hazards are present in every workplace and are a threat to everyone’s health and safety, workers in the healthcare and social assistance sector are reported as having one of the highest rates of work related injuries and illnesses, predominantly due to the regular people handling.
Workers may be exposed to a range of hazards that can affect their health and well-being, depending on the services they are to provide, the location of the workplace and the clients being cared for. They work with highly toxic drug and chemical agents, perform physically demanding and repetitive tasks such as lifting patients, and are regularly exposed to workplace stress and violence, putting workers at an alarming risk for illness and injury.
Although it is possible to prevent or reduce worker exposure to these hazards, due to the nature of the work, the workers often sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of their patients. Find out more about the industry here.
Between 2000–01 to 2014–15:
- Body stressing represented more than half (51%) of workers’ compensation claims. Many of these were due to lifting people or moving beds, trolleys and other non-powered medical equipment.
- Slips, trips and falls accounted for 19% of claims. Most involved stairs or falling over objects in high traffic areas.
- Mental stress accounted for 8%, with more than half caused by other people.
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