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Work related injury

Injury in the workplace is a significant problem. The Centre's work in this area has a particular focus on developing better databases on work-related injury and developing better ways of understanding the risk associated with workplace injury.

1. Analysis of safety performance measures of the New South Wales mining industry

Centre Investigators
Ann Williamson, Tim Chamberlain

Summary
In addition to information on injury-related incidents, the NSW mining industry collects incident information that is relevant to occupational safety and health. Unlike other industry sectors where workplace health and safety information is based exclusively on fatality and severe injury data, this additional information is based on Notifiable Incidents that are required to be reported to the government regulatory agency under a range of mine safety acts and regulations. The aim of this project is to provide an annual report on the reportable incidents collected by the Department of Primary Industry-Minerals. The report describes the natrure of incidents and circumstances in which they occur. This analysis provides a broader view of incidents that have both actual and potential impact on safety and are leading to the development of more informed strategies to address the major problems in mine safety in NSW.

 

2. The Effects of Precarious Work on Occupational Health and Safety

Centre Investigators
Ann Williamson

Collaborators
Phillip Bohle, Michael Quinlan ( School of Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour, UNSW). This project is led by the School of Organisation and Management, UNSW.

Summary
Temporary, part time or casual work is increasing in Australian workplace. This type of work is often summarised as precarious work and much has been written about the potential impact of these types of work arrangements on occupational health and safety. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of precarious work on health and safety of workers in the hospitality, call centre and road transport industries. A survey of road transport workers was conducted and the results analysed. Comparison of short haul truck drivers in permanent employee, casual employee and owner driver work arrangements showed that short haul drivers worked very long hours that were similar to long haul drivers, under arguably more continuously trying condition of congested urban roads. Work-related injuries (mainly related to lifting and loading and unloading) were quite common among employee drivers and over a third of permanent employee drivers reported a chronic illness (mainly back problems and deafness) or having made a workers' compensation claim in the past five years. These finding with regard to the long hours and pressures on short haul drivers raise important policy issues. In the past, the working conditions of long haul truck drivers were seen as rather unique, requiring particular forms of regulatory intervention (to combat fatigue etc). Our study found that gap between employment and working conditions of long haul and short haul drivers was less than previously imagined. This suggests that existing policy interventions for short haul drivers may need to be reconsidered.



3. Cost of work related injuries and illness in NSW

Centre Investigators
Mary PotterForbes

Collaborators
Peter Abelson (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Sydney), Tim Driscoll (School of Public Health, University of Sydney)

Summary
The objectives of this project were to estimate the cost of compensable work related injury and illness occuring in NSW in 2000-2001, and to develop a resource for use in ongoing economic evaluation of regulatory interventions. The cost was estimated at $16.9 billion; an average cost per incident ofr $118,540. The estimate included the costs of hospitalisation, the consumption of medical services and the administration of the claim as well as the cost of mortality and morbidity (net of productivity losses). A complex mapping between coding systems was necessary to derive the hospitalisation cost estimate. Excel spreadsheets were constructed for sensitivity analysis and supplied to WorkCover NSW for web-site implementation. The work was based on the methodology previously developed at the Centre but certain algorithms have been refined and parameter values updated. The approach is consistent with that adopted by Access Economics in its work for the National Occupational Health & Safety Commission in 2003.



4. Pilot survey on employment type hours of work and safety in NSW mining 2003-2004

Centre Investigators
Ann Williamson

Summary
The main aims of this pilot study were to describe the ways people are employed in the NSW mining industry, and to set a precedent for future research. Of key interest were the types of employment and areas of work, hours worked and safety outcomes for contractors in the NSW mining industry. The analysis of the characteristics of contractors working in the mines that returned surveys suggest a number of important differences between conractors and employees that need to be validated in a large survey. Further, the results identified aspects that could be improved to make a large survey more successful. The IRMRC coordnated and hosted a Workshop on designing a study of employment type, hours of work and safety in NSW mining which was attended by mining industry representatives of employers, employees and government.

 

5. Self reported work-related injury and illness in NSW

Centre Investigators
Rebecca Mitchell, Soufiane Boufous

Summary
Work-related injury is an important public health issue in NSW. The study describes information on self-reported work-related injuries collected as part of the 2002 NSW Health Survey Program. A total of 15.6% of employed persons reported that they had suffered an injury or illness related to work in the last 12 months. Males and young workers were more likely to report experiencing a work-related injury/illness than females or older workers. The most common injury-reported was sprains and strains of joints and adjacent muscles. Only one-quarter of respondents reported receiving workers' compensation for their injury/illness. Data sources from the health system are an important source of information for work-related injury/illness. Health survey information can complement other work-related injury/illness data sources and contribute to the current knowledge regarding the magnitute, nature and severity of work-related injury/illness in NSW.

 

6. Research on fatigue management in the rail industry

Centre Investigators
Ann Williamson

Summary
This project involved providing expert review and advice to the National Transport Commission on the development of a national approach to managing the risks associated with fatigue in Rail Safety Workers. This included attended meetings with stakeholders leading and membership of a Fatigue Expert Group which led to preparation of a number of draft proposals for fatigue management that form the basis for a national regulatory framework to govern this area in rail safety.

 

 

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