Any Queensland workplace with a recent workers’ compensation claim for a sprain or strain injury could soon be visited by an inspector as an audit campaign kicks off seeking to reign in musculoskeletal injuries.
MSDs are the most common work-related injury, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all work injuries. On average, each day in Queensland there are almost 100 accepted MSD-related workers’ compensation claims. Of these, about 45 are for serious injuries requiring five or more days off work.
The Sprains and Strains Assessment campaign will target workplaces which have had a recent and significant hazardous manual task injury claim, or a slips, trips and falls workers’ compensation claim, that caused a musculoskeletal disorder. The initial focus will be on back injuries.
Across Queensland, inspectors will be looking at the high-risk factors for these injuries in all industry sectors.
The audit campaign’s ultimate aim is to prevent future injuries, benefitting employees and their families who can be seriously affected by MSDs. Sport and family activities are often impacted, sometimes affecting relationships and leading to secondary psychological issues.
It also benefits employers who have workers needing significant time off work and are left with a large bill to cover for the injured worker, through retraining, recruitment and loss of productivity.
Inspectors will look to ensure employers who have lodged recent claims have acted to prevent the injuries happening again. Workers are too often returned to the same task without their workplace fully assessing what caused the injury, or making any improvements to fix the problem.
Inspectors will audit workplace risks, as well as advising on how they can more effectively manage the issues. Enforcement action will be taken where necessary.
Employers can use the newly released self-assessment tools and other resources to help prevent future injuries at their workplace.