Work in an office? Your job is more dangerous than you think

TWO people died and 2595 Northern Rivers workers were hurt on the job in just two years.

An APN Newsdesk analysis of Safe Work Australia workers' compensation claim data reveals office workers are at highest risk of injury in our region.

A person employed in Lismore's clerical, sales and service sector died in 2012-13 financial year.

Meanwhile, 1385 workers in Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle and Richmond Valley council areas were injured in the same period.

A Byron production and transport sector worker died the following financial year, while 1210 of the region's employees were hurt at work.

The highest number of claims came from the clerical, sales and service sector, with 1125 lodged, while the professional sector made 695 claims.

Tradies came in third place with 370 compo claims submitted.

SWA says on-the-job injuries left a $60.6-billion hole in the nation's economy each year.

Allison Hutton, one of the country's leading experts in workplace health and safety, said the death and injury tolls were too high.

"Health and safety has to remain a very high concern for employers," the CQUniversity OHS and accident forensics academic said.

"There were close to 118,000 serious injury claims (Australia-wide) in the 2012-13 financial year.

"If you look at the numbers, they're scary but you can also see an improvement over the last 20 years."

Ms Hutton said a new generation of safety-conscious leaders could turn the tide on workplace deaths and injuries.

"In the last couple of years, we've seen a lot of school leavers coming into the Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety programs, and that's partly because they've grown up with the concepts of safety," Ms Hutton said.

"(It's) the beginnings of a generational shift where you've got a lot of young people coming through thinking about safety, and that's going to be a huge change."



Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle and Richmond Valley workplace injury claims by financial year:

  • Type, 2012-13, 2013-14
  • Injuries: 1385, 1210
  • Fatalities: 1, 1
  • The top-three injury claims by sector:
  • Sector, 2012-13, 2013-14
  • Clerical, sales and service workers: 580, 545
  • Professionals: 405, 290
  • Tradespersons and related workers: 205, 165

Source: Safe Work Australia


Physiotherapist Andrew Irvine's tips for tradies to stay healthy:

  • Stop ignoring pain.
  • Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle outside work.
  • Learn or refresh yourself with correct manual handling techniques, injury prevention strategies and personal ergonomics.
  • See a physiotherapist to design a flexibility and fitness program.
  • The physiotherapist can also educate you on prevention strategies, self-management techniques, and direct you to seek help from your GP for regular health check-ups.

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