25-36% OF VICTORIAN WORKERS AT HIGH RISK OF INJURY

A recently published study funded by WorkSafe from Monash University has analysed OHS data from 2053 Victorian workers from a broad array of jobs, industries, and social backgrounds.  

The report is titled Developing a leading indicators questionnaire to identify Victorian workers at increased risk of work-related harm.

Its summary report suggests 25-36% of workers are at high risk for future workplace injury or illness, depending on the leading indicator measures used.

High-risk factors include having more than one job, low household income, and working for government, education, or retail sectors.

Low-moderate risk is associated with being a business owner, working for a single employer, and having higher education levels.

The study was conducted in late 2021 when many Victorian workers were being directed to work from home if possible. At the time of data collection, 44% of workers indicated they were mainly working from home and were more likely to be low-moderate risk compared to those working on-site.

Lagging indicators like physical injuries, mental injuries, and near misses were reported, showing strong correlations to leading indicators.

Workers rated as high-risk according to the Occupational Health and Safety Vulnerability Measure (OHS-VM) were 2.9 times more likely to report a physical injury than workers rated as low to moderate risk.

Workers rated as high-risk according to the Psychosocial Job Quality Index (PJQI) measure were 3.7 times more likely to report a mental injury than workers rated as low to moderate risk.

A refined questionnaire focusing on OHS-VM and PJQI is proposed for targeting prevention activities by WorkSafe Victoria. Researchers suggest longitudinal data collection using leading indicators will aid WorkSafe Victoria in monitoring changes in workforce risk over time.

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