After close to 2,000 workplace related injuries in recent years, there has been a significant move to invest in employee safety in the NSW wood industry.
Figures indicate injuries cost the NSW workers compensation scheme at least $19.5 million in the three years to July 2010. This highlights that further funding is needed in this high-risk industry.
As a result, WorkCover NSW invested more than $170,000 into a project to help wood product manufacturing businesses across the state.
The project focused on five key safety issues that commonly cause problems for workers. These include manual tasks at the workshop; manual tasks at client sites; guarding on machines and powered hand tools; occupational disease from exposure to wood dust and noise; and return to work and injury management.
More than 740 businesses received visits from WorkCover NSW to remind executives of their safety obligations and assist them in making sure the workplace is as safe as possible.
Acting General Manager of WorkCover NSW's Work Health and Safety Division, Peter Dunphy, explained the Focus On Industry – Wood Products Manufacturing Project should make workplaces more productive and safer for operations.
"This was achieved through on-site support and advice, safety incentives, promoting the benefits of early recovery and return to work and, where necessary, supporting businesses that needed to improve safety and return work outcomes to do so," he said.
"More than 60 per cent of the businesses we surveyed reported making safety improvements as a result the advice they received from our inspectors."
It was interesting to note that at least 85 businesses received $2,000 rebates for making solutions that improved work health and safety and the overall standard of employee well-being.
"All workers deserve to come home safely at the end of the working day and with the support of our industry action partners we will continue to ensure this happens," Mr Dunphy concluded.
Workplace compensation in NSW
The wood industry is full of risks that can result in total permanent disability, but there are ways to cover any damages or losses.
Employees injured at work are also entitled to compensation. It is recommended that you contact a compensation lawyer who can advise you on how to make your claim and assist you through the process.
These lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis, so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it's completely up to you whether you engage their services.