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How to keep tradies safe in the workplace


Tradies make up over 30% of the Australian workforce according to latest figures from Safe Work Australia - this equates to over 1 million working tradies.

Common injuries sustained by tradies

Sadly, there are risks in this type of work. The most common injuries to tradies include traumatic join injuries, followed by slips, trips, and falls, back injuries, transport accidents and electric shock.

An emerging issue for tradies is asbestos, with one in every three Australian homes having asbestos present. Tradies who work on domestic properties are more likely than the average person to be exposed to dangerous fibres. These fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Recently other dust diseases such as silicosis have been on the rise among tradespeople in Australia.

Keeping tradies safe during Covid-19

In the present coronavirus pandemic it more important than ever that employees engage in safe work practices and that worksites pay attention to safety standards. Sole traders should also have measures in place to safely get through these trying times and keep their businesses afloat.

Health and safety checklist for tradies:

  • Apply social distancing measures while on-site
  • Practice safe hand hygiene and sneezing etiquette
  • Carry and use effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with you at all times. This is extremely important if you are working in private residential properties.
  • If you are sick or showing signs of illness, don’t attend work for the safety of all others.
  • Clean up after a day’s work. Give your tools a wipe over to avoid spreading germs and wipe over work areas.

What precautions should be in place to keep tradies safe?

According to national Workplace Health and Safety standards, everyone who conducts a business must ensure they manage all workplace health and safety risks. There is a four-step process for doing this effectively:

  1. Identify hazards
  2. Assess risks
  3. Control risks
  4. Review risk controls.

Tips for tradies

We have developed a blog that outlines in detail [ways to keep tradies healthy and happy on the job (https://www.shine.com.au/blog/workers-compensation/top-tips-to-keep-tradies-safe).

Our top tips include:

  • Maintain training and upskilling
  • Watch for hazards
  • Always use protective clothing and equipment
  • Drive safely at all times
  • Be sun smart
  • Be back smart and take care to lift items safely
  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Stay mentally well
  • Avoid drug and alcohol use

What are my rights in the workplace?

By law your employers have a duty of care to keep all tradespeople safe on the job and ensure that your job doesn’t cause you injury or illness. They must also have worker’s compensation insurance for you if you’re hurt at work.

Your workplace has a duty to show you how to perform your job safely, have the right tools and safety equipment available and not ask you to do anything that requires a special licence.

You also have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace by not doing anything that would cause you or anyone else to get hurt.

How can Shine Lawyers help?

Have you suffered an injury at work due to your workplace not following proper safety procedures? Shine Lawyers can help. Our workplace injury compensation lawyers have a no win, no fee service, which enables more people to get their life back on track by accessing compensation after they obtain an injury through no fault of their own .

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: May 5, 2020.

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