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Keep your insurance premiums down and your people safe. Natalie Reynolds explains how.
The cost to people, business and the industry, as a result of failing to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), is too high.
In Victoria there has been a 7.1% growth in treatment costs as a result of injuries to April 2019 year on year, and this only captures claims where there are more than 10 days off as a result of an injury.*
The actuarial models across the country are unknown, but we continue to see increased premium costs replicated across plumbing businesses, and these really hurt.
It’s time to focus on the simple and the preventable, and change the industry culture - making sure we all use the hierarchy of controls to take the risk of injury seriously and manage those risks.
Simple and preventable injuries can turn deadly. Recently, Master Plumbers learned of an apprentice who did not follow the long/long policy of his employer. Razor wire kicked up on site cutting his lower leg. Enforcement of the policy on site would have prevented this injury, which in the worst case could have resulted in a more costly outcome, both for the health of the apprentice and the bottom line of the employer.
Similarly, the risk of a fall from a height can be mitigated by the use of a harness and long sleeves can protect against the harsh effects of the Australian sun. These are simple measures to prevent significant, debilitating injuries and claims with a long tail.
And gloves? Wherever practicable make them part of the uniform, use them routinely and ensure they are matched to the type of work being conducted - Cat 5 gloves for sheet metal work and work gloves for situations where more grip is required. Too often we hear of reported preventable injuries caused by a simple slip of a spanner, putting a plumber out of work while stitches heal or surgery to repair tendons has occurred.
Of course, we can look at other PPE as a must - goggles, face shields, breathing apparatus and masks and the like - but let’s start here. It’s time to change the culture and protect our plumbers, and in doing so protect our hip pockets.
* Worksafe Stakeholder Reference Group meeting stats presented on 11 July 2019