Community Services & Aged Care Staff Lack Safety Awareness
8 September 2014 at 11:58 am
A new Australian study shows that workers in health and community services, including aged and disability care, have only a moderate safety consciousness despite having the highest number of workplace injury claims of all industries.
The study, Dangerous Personalities Making Work Unsafe, found that compared with other sectors, health and community workers were only moderately motivated to ensure workplace safety, to comply with OHS rules and to participate in improving safety at work.
The study was carried out by organisational psychology firm SACS Consulting.
Andrew Marty, Managing Director of SACS and Principal Researcher in the study said the finding was a real worry.
“The latest data from Safe Work Australia shows employees in health and community services had by far the highest number of serious workers compensation claims in 2011-12, at 19,060 claims,” Marty said.
“The evidence is clear – the health and community services sector needs to improve the overall safety behaviours of its employees.
The SACS study showed that:
The safest employees work in the local government, utilities and FMCG industries
There is a distinct difference in workers’ approach to safety, at the fundamental level of personality, some employees truly value safety and others do not
Men tend to take safety more seriously at work than women.
The SACS study found that it was possible to identify which people are likely to flout or support OHS and safety rules in the workplace.
“For employers concerned about OHS who are keen to reduce workers compensation costs and time lost to injury, screening their staff is a more sophisticated way to reduce unnecessary safety risks in the workplace,” Marty said.
The SACS study surveyed more than 1400 employees in a range of organisations and employment sectors. In an anonymous questionnaire respondents were asked about their attitude and behaviour when it comes to OHS and safety in the workplace.
Employers in Australia spend upwards of $7billion on workers compensation per year and the overall cost of workplace injuries and illnesses was estimated by Safe Work Australia at more than $60 billion in 2008-09, which equates to almost 5% of GDP.
Dangerous Personalities Making Work Unsafe is available here