Certain incidents defined by the WHS legislation are notifiable immediately to Comcare. In the last 9 months AP has had 38 incidents that are serious/critical and dangerous in nature and have been notified to Comcare. These incidents include electric shock, amputation of top of finger, heat stress, lacerations, muscle/tendon strain, fall from racking and motorcycle PDOs struck by cars and trucks.
There are many other less serious incidents resulting from ‘minor’ incidents or near misses that are not reported to Comcare. These include bitten by dog, slips trips and falls, hit by moving object such as forklift and so on. Not notifiable immediately to Comcare but serious for the injured worker.
Manual handling (lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying of objects) is responsible for the greatest number of injuries and long term health problems amongst AP employees. These injuries occur because of lifting heavy and awkward objects. Many injuries also occur because workers are forced to adopt injurious postures due to poor design of machines, the materials handling equipment or the way the work is organised.
Motorcycle accidents are responsible for the second greatest number of injuries amongst AP employees followed by being hit by falling/moving objects and slips, trips and falls.
Some of the things AP are doing include programs directed at managers (Safety leadership), encouraging workers to be safety conscious (Stop Think Do) and stricter safety rules (workers coded for incidents). But improvements in workers’ health and safety are predominantly achieved by collective action to improve conditions rather than by these kinds of programs aimed at personal changes in behavior or lifestyle.
Unsafe work conditions can be changed. Workers have a right to a safe work process. Health and safety is a legitimate union issue. Contact your HSR, CWU Delegate or CWU branch or national office about how to reduce the hazards in your workplace. (See the action plan for HSRs below in this bulletin for some ideas as well.)