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Your rights to a safe workplace: Tradies edition

3 minute read

Workers' compensation

Whether you’re a sparky or chippy, it’s no secret that tradies carry out a range of manual labour day in, day out.

With hard physical work in harsh or high-risk environments and tight deadlines comes a larger risk of injury.

That’s why it’s really important for tradies to know their right to workers’ compensation, as well as how to access support should you suffer a workplace injury.

What are the most common injuries tradies suffer in a workplace?

According to SafeWork Australia the most common types of serious claims are due to:

  • traumatic joint injuries (44%)

  • cuts or laceration wounds (18%)

  • musculoskeletal disorders (15%)

  • broken bones or fractures (10%).

Our workers’ compensation lawyers have represented many tradies whom have been injured on worksites Often these injuries occur when they aren’t provided safety instruction or equipment or the company policies and procedures are not enforced in the workplace.

Labourers are especially at risk, given their responsibilities, and often suffer muscle or ligament injuries. Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) also commonly affects tradies who use power tools for extended periods.

Dangerous dust diseases are also a serious concern, with tradies working on domestic properties at risk of exposure to dangerous fibres like asbestos or silica. These fibres can cause conditions like asbestosis, silicosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Silicosis in particular has been on the rise in Australia – our Dust Diseases practice has lobbied government for stricter regulations to protect tradespeople.

What other claims are covered under workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation claims aren’t just visible on the surface, mental injuries, like anxiety or depression can also be claimed. Whether you developed this because of workplace bullying, or witnessing the serious injury or death of a workmate, these injuries are no less harmful than physical injuries. The right compensation can allow you to afford time off work and medical treatment to manage the condition.

What are tradies’ workplace safety rights?

By law, all Australian employers have a duty of care to keep their workers, including tradespeople, safe on the job and ensure their job doesn’t cause them injury or illness. This duty of care covers all employees, regardless of your position or whether you work full-time, part-time or casual.

If you’re a contractor (including a sole trader), generally you will also be covered for workers’ compensation by the company that employs you.

If you’re not directly covered, you may be covered by a third-party company or contractors’ policy, especially if you’re working on-site and taking direction from a client.

When can a tradie claim workers’ compensation?

If you suffer a physical or psychological injury related to work, you might be able to claim workers’ compensation from your employer’s insurer, a third-party company or contractor. This also includes employees that may have witnessed an incident or death in the workplace.

It’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe you may have suffered or witnessed an catastrophic injury at work as time limitations apply.

This means, if you leave it too late you may not be eligible to make any claims.

What do tradies claim compensation for?

There’s no set amount which can be claimed in workers’ compensation cases – the exact amount paid will depend on your injuries and your specific circumstances.

Common expenses claimed for workers’ compensation can include:

  • medical and rehabilitative expenses

  • loss of income and superannuation while injured as well as the impact on your future earnings

  • any permanent impairment suffered.

When one of our workers’ compensation experts works on your case, we’ll gather all the information we need and work out exactly what you can claim for.

Injured on the job? Shine Lawyers can help

If you’ve suffered an injury at work, our workers’ compensation lawyers can explain your legal rights and potential claims.

Get in touch with us today for a no obligation appointment so we can help you get started on your journey to right wrong.

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