Safe Work Australia has analysed an eight-year period to further understand which industry is driving the high levels of serious injuries from falls. The report highlights the vulnerability of the painting profession to this risk, and the importance of workplace safety.

While employers should be minimising the risk of accidents, they should also be looking into ways to protect their business from financial liability.

Painting industry driving high rate of injuries

In its latest report regarding safety when working from heights, Safe Work revealed that the majority of falls occurred in the construction sector. However, when this is broken down further, painting trades workers contributed significantly to these results.

The “work-related injuries and fatalities involving a fall from height” report recorded 7,730 serious injury claims between 2010-11 alone due to a fall from a height. A typical fall-induced injury requires 6.2 weeks of leave on average, significantly longer than the average 4.4 for a serious injury, which can severely impact small and medium sized companies.

A fall from a ladder can lead to extremely serious consequences, with the report recording that between 2010-11, 29 workers died due to a fall from heights.

When the complete eight years are analysed, the occupation with the highest number of fall-related deaths were painting trades workers (14 fatalities). This is half of the fatalities that occurred in the construction industry from July 1 2003 to June 30 2011.

What can be done?

Safe Work Australia CEO Rex Hoy emphasises the important role that safety should play in the workplace, for both managers and employees.

“This is a considerable loss of productivity and employers should be ensuring workers have the correct safety equipment for the task,” says Mr Hoy.

Ensuring workers are properly equipped can help mitigate this risk. However, no matter what measures are put in place, every single injury cannot be prevented. Obtaining the right business insurance that understands the risks associated with working in the painting trade is key to protecting your organisation.