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Bricklayers lay bricks, stone, concrete blocks and other building blocks in mortar to construct and repair walls, foundations and other structures.

Tasks and tools used

  • moving and handling of materials on site, including using pallet jacks and wheelbarrows
  • manually loading and unloading bricks and blocks on pallets (the brick, stone and building blocks vary in size and weight; typical concrete blocks used include 140mm X 400mm X 200mm weighing 11kg each and 200mm X 400mm X 200mm weighing 13-15kg each)
  • possible use of stairs and ladders
  • negotiation of uneven surfaces
  • laying approximately 150 blocks per day (therefore can manually handle up to 2-3 tonnes of blocks)
  • mortar is mixed on site using a mixer
  • shovelling sand into a mixer (cement/mortar mix is added along with water and other additives [admixes])
  • cement and mortar mixes are handled in 20kg quantities/bags between ground and chest height
  • small quantities of mortar may be mixed manually using a shovel in a wheelbarrow
  • mortar mix is transported in buckets weighing up to 25kg and/or by wheelbarrow around the site as required
  • bricks, stone and blocks are cut to size and shaped as required, using a chisel hammer or brick cutting machine
  • mortar is spread using a hand trowel
  • bricks are laid individually by hand in the mortar and kept level
  • excess mortar is removed using a hand trowel and a hand tool (jointer) is used to create a groove between the bricks
  • wire and steel rods of varying gauge are cut to size and positioned within the wall structure for additional structural strength as it is built
  • props may be used to temporarily support the structures, particularly when performing repair work or when exposed to wind.

Personal protective equipment

  • gloves
  • hard hat
  • mask
  • visibility vest
  • trousers
  • safety boots
  • ear muffs/plugs
  • safety glasses
  • sunscreen.

Critical physical job demands and other task requirements

Critical job
demand descriptor
% of time the
task is performed
  • standing
  • gripping of objects including wide gripping
  • lifting of objects up to 15kg between ground and chest height
  • sun exposure
  • kneeling and crouching'occasional lifting of objects weighing up to 25kg between ground and waist height
  • carrying of objects weighing up to 25kg
  • lifting up to 15kg between ground and shoulder height
  • trunk flexion greater than 15 degrees
  • pushing/pulling of objects (including laden wheelbarrows)

Suitable duties

  • goals must be clear, realistic and achievable
  • must have 'buy-in' from the worker
  • worker helps to set the goals, and must be answerable if goals are not met (this allows barriers to RTW to be identified at an early stage and obstacles overcome)
  • workers need to understand they have an obligation to participate in rehabilitation and RTW as per Section 232 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act).

Return to work suggestions

Worker can begin with light duties and include more tasks as their capacity for work changes. We'll work with all parties, including the treating medical provider, employer and worker to ensure everyone is aware of where the worker is with their rehabilitation and stay at, or return to work.

Note: some tasks are dependent on worker's injury and capacity, and some tasks may require the assistance of a co-worker.


RTW can begin at home for those having difficulty with transport, medication or the injury prevents them from returning to work.

If the worker needs to take a break from work, they're rehabilitation can still begin at home. Tasks can include:

  • video on safety issues can be viewed (lying in bed if injury type requires)
  • computer based programs, CD's or DVD on work related subjects
  • phone based work
  • emails
  • training
  • other worksite inductions
  • checking or auditing paperwork, e.g. helping the WHSO  audit lost time injuries (LTI's) for a six month period.

Host employment

In the event an employer is unable to provide suitable duties, a host placement may be required. If this is the case, the worker may be placed at a different employer in a graduated return to work plan until they're able to 'upgrade' back to his/her pre-injury role with their pre-injury employer.

WorkCover Queensland's Recover at Work program places injured workers in short term host employment with employers who have an established track record of successful return to work outcomes with their own workers.

More return to work resources