Keeping well through the COVID-19 journey

May 07, 2020

As economies re-open and a new level of normality is restored, we each have a different journey when it comes to a healt...


The hospitality industry in Australia is thriving. In this post, we’ll take a look at a state-by-state snapshot of the hospitality industry’s workplace health and safety performance.

Hospitality: New South Wales

What does the hospitality sector look like in New South Wales regarding occupational health and safety?

It’s a large industry. About 60,000 people work at cafes and catering businesses alone in New South Wales, and more than 50,000 people are employed in hotels. Clubs employ more than 40,000 in the state. With so many workers employed in the hospitality industry, it’s important to know what the safety issues are and what employers can do to improve conditions.

SafeWork NSW reports that more than 18,000 hospitality workers were injured over the last three years. In the same time period, more than 250 workers were permanently disabled, and eight workers died.

The most commonly reported workplace injuries were manual handling injuries, such as sprains and strains. Other commonplace injuries included burns, lacerations, electric shocks, hearing damage and violence due to drugs and alcohol.

Hospitality: Victoria

In Victoria, the hospitality industry is the single largest employer of young workers, and this fact alone gives employers some unique challenges. Staff turnover is often high, and many people have to work late at night or on the weekends. Some workers, in addition to being young and inexperienced, also have limited English skills.

WorkSafe Victoria reports that the most common injuries they’re seeing are musculoskeletal disorders like sprains and strains; many of these injuries are caused by lifting awkward and heavy object or by performing repetitive work such as chopping vegetables.

Other workplace safety issues include cuts and lacerations, hearing loss from excessive exposure to loud music and crowd noise, and exposure to hazardous chemicals and infectious diseases.

Hospitality: Queensland

The Queensland government reports that one in every 85 workers suffers a serious injury each year, and one in 35 workers suffers some kind of injury. When you think about your own business, it’s easy to see that most businesses are touched by accidents and injuries every single year.

The Safety Performance Audit of the Queensland hospitality industry found that the following are some of the most common areas of work health and safety non-compliance:

  • Hazardous manual handling
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Lack of risk assessments
  • Insufficient workplace systems and procedures
  • Workers not adhering to safety policies and procedures
  • Insufficient training

Hospitality: South Australia

The top three injuries for hospitality workers in South Australia are ligament and muscular trauma, wounds and musculoskeletal injuries. SafeWork South Australia reports that housekeepers, kitchen hands, chefs and cooks, and bar, waiter and cafe workers are the most likely people to get injured on the job.

SafeWork SA has developed a plan for the years 2017-2019 that will seek to improve work health and safety in the hospitality industry. Their plan includes action items such as partnering with industry bodies to promote health and safety solutions for both employers and workers, providing education and advice on the duties of hospitality employers and workers, and engaging with education institutions to influence health and safety curricula for students.

Hospitality: Western Australia

The government of Western Australia has created WorkSafe SmartMove, an educational resource for high school students and younger workers. It aims to prepare young people for a safe and healthy work experience and to inform them about general hazards in the workplace. Many of these young workers will spend some time in the hospitality industry, so the program will hopefully decrease the incidence of injury in the workplace in the future.

Hospitality: Northern Territory

Northern Territory WorkSafe also has a Young Worker Program to help employers of young workers to comply with their obligations. NT WorkSafe reports that approximately 300 young workers are injured on the job each year in Northern Territory. Many of these young workers are employed in the hospitality sector. While the program isn’t a total work, health and safety solution for managing younger workers, it’s an important tool for employers.

As you can see, there are many governmental programs available for helping you to keep hospitality workers safe. You can tackle these issues with technology as well by using OHS software to help with training, tracking, reporting and other health and safety obligations. To learn more about our OHS software, get a free demo or contact us at Vault.

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