Hazards in the Workplace in Queensland
Your employer has a legal duty to reasonably protect their employees from any risks associated with their workplace and working conditions. Failing this leads to legal liability if you are injured in a workplace accident.
Remember that workplace health and safety in Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold Coast is the responsibility of EVERYONE, not just the employees themselves.
Despite your occupation, every profession has exposure to some degree of risk from work hazards. Even seemingly simple tasks such as sitting on a chair and typing content may result in a worker sustaining an injury if they are not advised to take occasional breaks and maintain proper ergonomic standards.
What general hazards arise in the workplace?
As employees, you have a duty to adhere to any safety precautions and measures imposed by the workplace. You also have to take reasonable care of your own safety, such as abstaining from alcohol while on the job, being aware of risks and staying diligent in your duties. There are many potential hazards that can arise depending on the nature of your occupation:
Physical or mental exhaustion while on the job is a serious condition that affects many workers. In particular, fly in fly out workers, construction workers, miners, general labourers and truck drivers all face this hazard in their daily course of employment.
Fatigue has been likened to being drunk in terms of alertness and reaction time. In the workplace, this condition makes it easier for workers to become victim to other potential risks in the workplace, as well as contribute to accidents through human error.
Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Abrasive blasting in industrial sectors, biological hazards from livestock in farming and respiratory hazards from spray painting and fumes are all examples of hazardous exposure.
Exposure to these substances can occur if there is inadequate ventilation, or if the employer fails to provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Explosions during mining operations, the constant sounds of drilling in construction or loud music blaring in a nightclub are all examples of excessive noise hazards that can affect a worker by causing hearing loss.
Your body can also react to excessive noise by triggering your autonomic nervous system. This causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and releases the adrenalin and cortisol hormones. Having your body undergo this reaction over a prolonged period of time can contribute to more serious conditions such as stress, hypertension, gastric ulcers and reduced white blood cells and immune responses.
Slip, Trips & Falls
These accidents are the cause of a lot of common workplace injuries such as broken bones, sprains, strains and other musculoskeletal injuries. They can happen anywhere in a workplace due to a number of different conditions such as a lack of proper warning signs over wet surfaces.
While an employee should always be diligent when they are working, it is also the responsibility of the employer to minimize these risks. Be careful for loose cords on the ground due to improper organization, unattended spills or other similar risks.
Occupations that require workers to be outdoors for prolonged periods of time will inevitably expose these workers to the extreme Australian heat. The effects of heat stress can be minor such as heat rash, but can progressively become worse and lead to heat stroke.
Workers should be aware of the warning signs of heat stress that include heavy sweating, headaches, weakness, dizziness, slurred speech, blurred vision and nausea. Employers should make sure that their workers have access to water in order to stay hydrated and provide regular cooling off or rest periods such as shade shelters.
A work plan should also be put in place for assisting workers affected by heat stress.
An employer should make sure that adequate visibility is provided to their employees at all times. Proper lighting should allow a worker to move and carry out their duties without risk to health and safety, as well as evacuate safely in an emergency.
Failing to follow this standard can cause substantial risks to workers leading to serious injuries if they slip on surfaces, fall off platforms, collide with solid structures or cause injury to others by unintentionally creating a hazard due to their inability to see.
The demands of the workplace can also put a psychological toll on workers who have to meet the demanding requirements of their jobs. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to a long list of health conditions, especially if the workplace does not have a proper stress policy in place for their employees.
Stress also becomes a critical issue when the workplace is directly responsible for this stress in a negligent way. Workplace bullying and harassment is sadly an issue that affects many workers, including women.
Many workers feel they need to “lye low” because they are fearful of losing their job. Understand that you are not alone in this struggle and it is important to seek help and someone to talk to. With respect to your legal rights, an accredited specialist in personal injury is the best course of action to take if work stress has rendered you unable to work and has resulted in substantial medical bills.
Are you protected from these hazards?
It is important that workers effectively communicate any concerns of safety with their supervisors and management team. Sometimes, management may not be aware of certain risks in the workplace and prevention is the first best method in preventing a serious injury.
Were you in a work accident recently and still need help?
If your employer is not being helpful in addressing your safety concerns, you may need assistance from an accredited specialist in personal injury.
East Coast Injury Lawyers is a Brisbane personal injury law firm led by accredited specialists in personal injury whose expertise falls under situations such as you.
- Have you been injured in a workplace accident and are no longer unable to work?
- Is your condition debilitating but you are still fearful that your employer may lay you off and you don’t know if pursuing a claim is worth it?
- Do you feel that your employer has failed in their duty to keep their employees safe?
- Is WorkCover preventing you from receiving the assistance you need?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then speaking to one of our personal injury lawyers is highly recommended in order to protect your legal rights.
Fortunately, East Coast Injury Lawyers offers a free, no obligation initial consultation so you can tell us your story and allow us to provide you with the initial legal advice that you need in order for you to make an informed decision on whether or not you should pursue a claim.
Take advantage of an opportunity to protect your legal rights without any initial up front cost or obligation today by contacting us at 1300 720 544 or filling in our free case review form.