MUSCULOSKELETAL injuries suffered at work places have cost Wimmera businesses $21.4 million in the past five years.

Statistics from WorkSafe Victoria show 798 incidents of musculoskeletal injuries were reported in the Wimmera during the period.

WorkSafe Victoria has urged Wimmera employers and workers to put measures in place to reduce the risk of such injuries in the workplace.

Victorian Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips launched a new campaign this week targeting musculoskeletal injuries from slips, trips, falls and dangerous manual handling.

Musculoskeletal injuries, or MSI, are the most common workplace injury in the state, accounting for more than half of the 29,000 serious injury claims made each year.

Horsham had the largest number of claims in the Wimmera with 287, followed by Ararat with 167 and Northern Grampians with 158.

WorkSafe spokeswoman Rosanna Bonaccurso said MSI claims comprised 53 per cent of WorkSafe claims across the state in the past five years.

“That is the reason we have come out with this campaign,” she said.

“A lot of injuries are caused by manual handling and can be prevented. The solutions are typically quite obvious.

“Injuries normally occur when shortcuts are taken.

“The basic message we are trying to get across is that employers and employees should do everything they can to reduce the risk of injuries at work.

“Particularly for employers, they need to make sure staff are properly trained, supervised and have the right equipment.”

The healthcare and social assistance industry was one of the most high-risk for musculoskeletal injuries in all six Wimmera local government areas, including Horsham, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera, Ararat and Northern Grampians.

Rural Northwest Health chief executive Catherine Morley said MSI was an important consideration and the group invested significant time and money into working with staff and visitors to keep them safe.

“Our staff are our biggest asset and a musculoskeletal injury can have a devastating impact on a person’s life,” she said.

“Rural Northwest Health encourages all staff to be accountable for keeping our campuses safe and to keep management informed about ways that the system or equipment can be changed to improve the outcome for all stakeholders.”

Ms Morley said the group had purchased a hovermatt and hoverjack to allow staff to get clients off the ground quickly and safely.

She said the group would be able to introduce ceiling hoist tracking in the acute and urgent care areas as part of its Warracknabeal campus redevelopment to further minimise the risk of injury to staff.

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