Avoiding Serious Workers Compensation Claims
The Good News
The number of serious workers compensation claims in Australia decreased in Australia by 6% in the 11 years from 2000-01 to 2011-12* (see the report from Safe Work Australia, Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics 2012-13). (A serious claim is a workers compensation claim, lodged and accepted, for an incapacity that results in an absence from work of 1 week or more.)
And this 6% decrease happened despite a 27% increase* in the total number of employees over those 11 years.
Yes it’s good news that the number of serious claims has decreased.
The Bad News
In those 11 years the median payment for a serious claim increased by 71% !*
That is an increase in cost of claims of almost 6.4% each year.
And the number of employees who have an injury or illness and make a serious claim still needs attention - 1 in 100 of all Employees in Australia made a serious workers compensation claim in the year 2012-2013*.
The number of claims per 100 employees varies from industry to industry and occupation. For example:
These are the sort of odds we would love to have when buying a lottery ticket but not when going to work.
117,815 employees made a serious claim in the year 2012-13* and were off work for at least 1 week.
And a total of 1.5 million weeks were lost from work in the year 2012-2013* because of workplace incidents that became serious claims.
As a nation and for the best survival of employees and employers we need to handle this situation.
Four General Workplace Action Steps
Four general steps that could be taken in any workplace to help minimise the possibility of a serious claim are:
1. Identify the hazards in your workplace that have the potential to create a serious claim
2. Ensure that all employees and others who are involved with those hazards know what the risks are and how to manage their risks.
3. Review the controls that you have in place for those hazards to verify those controls are being maintained and are appropriate and effective.
4. Handle any deficiencies you find in steps 2 and 3.
*Original statistics and images are from the ‘Australian Worker’s Compensation Statistics 2012-13’ report by Safe Work Australia CC By 3.0 AU.
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