“The Most Common Workplace Injuries Across Australia”

Weekly WHS Article 26th May 2021


What are the most common workplace injuries across Australia?

As explained at page 5 of the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice: Hazardous Manual Tasks, the most common workplace injuries are those injuries that are known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).


The type of injuries known as a musculoskeletal disorder can include;

  • “sprains and strains of muscles, ligaments and tendons

  • back injuries, including damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal discs, nerves, joints and bones

  • joint and bone injuries or degeneration, including injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, hands and feet

  • nerve injuries or compression, for example carpal tunnel syndrome

  • muscular and vascular disorders as a result of hand–arm vibration

  • soft tissue injuries including hernias, and

  • chronic pain.

Do all manual tasks cause injuries?

“Some manual tasks are hazardous and may cause musculoskeletal disorders.”


“An MSD can occur in two ways:

  • gradual wear and tear to joints, ligaments, muscles and inter-vertebral discs caused by repeated or continuous use of the same body parts, including static body positions, or

  • sudden damage caused by strenuous activity, or unexpected movements such as when loads being handled move or change position suddenly. Injuries can also occur due to a combination of the above mechanisms.”

An MSD can also occur due to a combination of the above 2 ways.


Is working at a computer workstation a hazardous manual task?

It could be, but does not have to be, particularly if the workstation is correctly set up. This is an issue that needs to be handled regardless of where the staff member is working, in the home or in the office.


On page 5 of the Code of Practice: Hazardous Manual Tasks, you will find a list of 8 hazards that might be found in a manual task. “These hazards stress the body and can lead to an injury”.


Three of the 8 hazards are most relevant to working at a computer workstation; repetitive movement, awkward posture, and sustained posture. You can find advice about handling these matters in the Code of Practice.

The Most Common Workplace Injuries Acros
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26th May 2021

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