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Hospitals more dangerous than construction

One in four health and community workers says their workplace is unsafe, survey finds.

Nurses, doctors and community service workers feel less confident about health and safety in their jobs than construction workers, according to a national survey.

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 on Wednesday.

"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," he said.

"But the hazards of work are far more subtle these days."

The study found one in four, or 25.3 per cent, of health and community workers believe their work is unsafe, compared to only 22.7 per cent of the construction employees 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."

The findings also revealed that only 17 per cent of workers are confident they won't get injured or sick from work.

A key factor behind that perception was a lack of trust in management, Buchanan said.


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