Nurses, doctors and community service workers are less confident about health and safety in their jobs than construction workers, a national survey has revealed.
The findings about workplace attitudes towards health and safety come from a five-year study of more than 8000 workers by the University of Sydney in partnership with the Australian Research Council and Unions NSW.
Sydney University research director Professor John Buchanan unveiled the findings at a workplace health forum in Sydney.
“I think there’s a stereotype about what an unsafe workplace is – it’s a coal mine which is going to fall on top of people, or they’re going to get poisoning of some kind, or fall off a multi-storey building,” News.com.au quoted him as saying.
“But the hazards of work are far more subtle these days,” he said.
The study found that one in four, or 25.3 percent, of health and community workers believe their work is unsafe, compared to only 22.7 percent of the construction employees, who were surveyed.
“Being a nurse or doctor in the public health system is one of the most stressful places to be, but most people don’t see it like that,” he said.
“Most people don’t realise that in the health system, it’s the good will of those professions which is holding the show together, and they can’t do it forever and their health is suffering,” he said.
The research also indicated that male employees were twice as likely as female employees to have a workers’ compensation claim.
The top three occupations for compensible injury and disease among men were labourers (25 percent), trades workers and technicians (21 percent) and intermediate production and transport workers (18 percent).
For women, clerical and sales employees had the most compensible injuries and diseases (27 percent), followed by labourers (20 percent) and professionals (18 percent).
The findings also revealed that only 17 percent of workers are confident that they won’t get injured or sick from work.
A key factor behind that perception was a lack of trust in management, Professor Buchanan said.