Work Safety: Tips for Keeping Safe

Workplace injuries are a common occurrence in Australia, even amongst those of us that don’t work in a physically laborious environment.

Work safety is for everyone

What might come as a surprise to many people is just how regularly work-related injuries can occur pretty much anywhere, even in offices and retail shops.

A “workplace injury” is, in fact, any injury that you incur while on the job. The specific types vary greatly but often include sprains, strains, chemical burns, heat burns, and fractures.

Here are five of the most common workplace injuries and some tips on work safety.

1. Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are the leading nature of workplace injury in nearly every industry sector in Australia. These injuries tend to happen when workers overexert themselves, but they are in no way exclusive to labour-intensive workplaces.

Some tips for avoiding sprains and strains are:

    • maintain good body posture at all times while you work


  • follow safety guidelines for heavy lifting

2. Cuts and Open Wounds

In 2006, cuts and open wounds consisted of 19% of workplace injuries reported in Australia. This type of injury could happen in any type of workplace, including warehouses, kitchens, retail stores, and offices. There are many sharp objects that could cause an unexpected lesion, and the possibility of having an accident with a knife or scissor exists in any conceivable work environment.

Although many employers take precautions to prevent cuts and open wounds at the workplace, it is best to ensure that you also know where to turn should you suffer this type of injury while at work.

3. Slips and Trips

Another common type of workplace injury occur when workers slip or trip on wet floors or stumble over objects lying on the ground.

It’s important here to take a common sense approach: be mindful of your environment and alert others to potential hazards if for example water has spilled over a tiled area.

4. Falls

Serious injury and death can result from a fall off a ladder, roof or other high platform.It’s important that you wear the right personal protection gear such as a harness and diligently follow safety guidelines if you are working in an elevated position.

5. Repetitive Motion

Repetitive motion injuries are common among office workers who use computers all day, or anyone else who spends a substantial amount of time using electronic devices. In particular, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is currently the fastest growing work-related injury in the world. This happens when you wrists are subjected to repeated, limited-range motions (like typing).

The tendons surrounding the median nerve in your wrists are encased by what’s called the synovial sheath. When you overwork your wrist by subjecting it to repeated, limited-range motions, the sheath swells up and fills up with fluid. That will put pressure on the median nerve and cause burning, tingling, and pricking sensations in your wrists and/or fingers.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated with wrist splinting, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and may require surgery in severe cases.

Certain measures can be taken to help prevent office workers, construction workers, sheet metal workers, and other employees whose jobs require them to perform repetitive physical tasks from developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. All you have to do is to reduce stress on your hands and wrists, which you can accomplish by:

  • maintaining a good posture
  • wearing splints to keep your wrists straight
  • taking frequent breaks
  • keeping your hands warm
  • relaxing your grip

Know your rights and responsibilities

No matter how safe your workplace is, you can always get injured one way or another.

You need to be mindful and take all necessary precautions, but if you’re in the unfortunate situation where you’ve been involved in a workplace accident, it’s worth seeking expert legal opinion on what your options are and if you have the possibility for a workers compensation claim.

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