Safe Work Australia Chair Ann Sherry officially announced Safe Work Month on Monday September 4 and the event is now well underway.
“Building on the success of last year’s Safe Work Australia Week, this year’s celebrations have been extended to a month in October,” Ms Sherry said.
One of the highlights of Safe Work Month so far has been the Queensland Safe Work Awards, which were held last week (October 8).
This awards ceremony celebrates businesses and organisations dedicated to improving occupational health and safety.
This year the top honour was awarded to Fraser Livestock Transport for an invention that helps workers transfer cattle from one truck to another with minimal risk of injury.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says that “these awards are so important because they shine a light on business and individuals doing their very best to make their workplaces safer and healthier”.
Winners in the top four categories will go on to compete in the Safe Work Australia Awards early next year.
Work safety is particularly important in Queensland – an area with high employment in construction and mining sectors – as these industries tend to have higher injury rates, according to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland head Dr Simon Blackwood.
Dr Blackwood expects the labour force in the state to increase by 21 percent over the next decade, reaching 412,636 by 2020.
“This growth and the fact that construction and mining sectors are also the biggest employers in the region, means work safety is especially important,” he said.
Young employees and apprentices are particularly at risk of injury in the workplace, due to lack of experience and confidence.
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure that young people employed in apprenticeships in Queensland are adequately trained for their positions and tasks.
However, apprentices are also encouraged to take initiative for their own health and safety in the workplace.
A young apprentice can easily diminish the risk of a workplace injury by asking questions and actively pursuing training before undertaking new tasks.
Apprentices should also not feel afraid to refuse work they do not feel comfortable performing. Reaching beyond comfort levels and ability can put employees in unsafe positions and potentially lead to mistakes and injuries.
The Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General advises all employees to begin asking questions about workplace safety before starting any new jobs or tasks – being prepared is the easiest way to prevent workplace injury.