WorkSpace Week 2023

Today Abigail passed a call for the NSW Government to take stronger action to improve the quality of life of vulnerable workers across the state, in light of Work Safe Month and WorkSpace Week. 

Abigail moved: 

(1) That this House notes that:

(a)October is National Safe Work Month, and 2 to 8 October 2023 is WorkSpace Week, an initiative of the Australian Chiropractors Association [ACA] dedicated to minimising work-related musculoskeletal and neuro‑musculoskeletal disorders which are known to have serious and long-term debilitating implications on both the physical and mental health of injured workers, including impacts on future employment and overall quality of life;

(b)workers who are most vulnerable to work-related musculoskeletal disorders are community and personal service workers such as healthcare, aged-care, childcare, NDIS and disability service workers, while machinery operators, drivers, labourers, technicians and tradies are also among those with the highest rates of physical work-related injuries;

(c)incorrect or poorly executed lifting, pushing, pulling or bending, working on computers at non-ergonomic workspaces, poor posture, driving a vehicle for long periods of time and repetitive strain injuries can all cause work‑related musculoskeletal disorders, and mental stress in the workplace can also contribute to and trigger neuro‑musculoskeletal disorders; and

(d)according to the ACA in new independent national consumer research released on 2 October 2023:

(i)musculoskeletal disorders are estimated to cost the Australian economy over $55 billion annually through direct health costs, lost productivity and reduced quality of life of sufferers;

(ii)87 per cent of those surveyed have, or have experienced, a work-related musculoskeletal injury, and 73 per cent of sufferers experienced three or more work-related musculoskeletal injuries;

(iii)although body stressing is the most commonly reported cause of physical injury for serious workers compensation claims as a result of poorly executed lifting, pushing, pulling or bending, the survey revealed prolonged sitting, computer usage (in an office or at home) and repetitive movements at work can also lead to chronic neck and back pain if not prevented or treated when injuries first occur;

(iv)the most prevalent work-related musculoskeletal injuries were low back pain (62 per cent), neck pain (55 per cent), mid back pain (53 per cent) and tension/cervicogenic headaches (52 per cent);

(v)computer use was identified as a leading cause of the top four work-related musculoskeletal injuries (low back, neck, mid back and tension/cervicogenic headaches);

(vi)89 per cent of workers who worked at a desk reported that they suffered a work-related musculoskeletal injury (including those who do a combination of desk work with standing and/or physical work), and female desk workers reported the highest incidence (91 per cent) compared to men (76 per cent);

(vii)work-related musculoskeletal injury relating to computer use in non-ergonomic workspaces, poor posture and the lack of effective exercise programs to improve spinal health play a significant role in causing work‑related musculoskeletal injuries; and

(viii)84 per cent of sufferers experienced work-related stress which can lead to tension and cervicogenic (neck related) headaches impacting workers' concentration, productivity, social engagement and their overall wellbeing and quality of life.

(2) That this House calls on the Government to commit to direct action to prevent workspace injuries and improve the quality of life of vulnerable workers from a broad range of industries and professions across the State.

Read the full transcript in Hansard here.

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