Australian workers spend their lives in a diverse range of industries, while mining and construction are often touted as being two of the most important to the country’s economy, there are others which are having both positive and negative effects on people.
According to IBISWorld, Australia’s nursery industry contributes nearly $750 million to the country’s economy every year, employing more than 3,300 people in the process. However, while the industry is successful financially, a recent report found that workers are too frequently the subject of TPD claims and other safety incidents. In the wake of these findings, SafeWork NSW recommends that people and businesses take a much stricter focus on safety and injury prevention.
What are the dangers in the nursery industry?
SafeWork NSW was alerted to the hazards present in the nursery industry after research revealed that it was responsible for $8.6 million in works compensation claims in a period of just nine years. Considering the industry is made of 400 businesses that are mostly small to medium scale enterprises, the financial and social costs can be significant and greatly affect their operations.
The organisation also found that, because of this fact, it can be difficult to make major changes to safety processes. According to Executive Director Peter Dunphy, this is where industry collaboration can have a significantly positive effect.
“After consulting with industry to identify priority health and safety and return to work issues, we have developed an action plan which outlines how we will work together to improve health, safety and productivity in the State’s nurseries,” he explained.
“Most businesses in the industry are small businesses, and finding the time and money for safety improvements can be a challenge, that’s why we will be focussing on tailored tools and incentives that support them in improving safety.”
The organisation also identified the most common risks to employees working in these businesses, many of which can contribute to the growing rate of TPD claims. Some of the major ones include exposure and heat stress due to long periods spend under the sun, frequent contact with hazardous chemicals and the reliance on heavy machinery.
Thankfully, the most common injuries for nursery workers are fairly minor, with back and shoulder strains or sprains occurring frequently. Despite this, however, they can still cost organisations up to $5,000 each and cause significant pain for victims.
Get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners to discuss your case in more detail.