31st October, 2014

Worker compensation for fatalities dropping in Australia

Australia has recorded a strong decrease in the number of injuries workers have experienced in the country, with workers compensation insurance claims reaching the lowest levels since 2002.

The figures, released by SafeWork Australia, recorded the compensated injury rate per 1,000 workers in Australia. For 2012-2013, these numbers reached 11 per 1,000, a 26 per cent reduction compared with figures recorded in 2002.

Fatalities have achieved even greater reductions, with the number decreasing considerably, according to Michelle Baxter, Safe Work Australia's, acting chief executive officer.

"Over a decade ago Australia set a national target of reducing the incidence rate of compensated injury and musculoskeletal disorder fatalities by 20 per cent by 2012. This report shows that as a nation we not only achieved, but surpassed this target, with a 41 per cent reduction in fatalities," said Ms Baxter.

With tradies among the most likely workers to be injured through their employment, reduced injury and fatality rates are certainly going to be good news for those working in this sector.

However, Ms Baxter noted that there was still additional work required to further reduce the injury rate.

"While this is a good result, there were still 178 compensated injury and disease fatalities recorded in Australia for 2012-13. More work is needed to improve work health and safety and reduce this figure even further," she said.

"To continue to see a decrease in injury and disease in the workplace we must stay committed to work health and safety and set high targets to ensure safer workplaces for all Australians."

As companies continue to search for ways to improve employee safety, it is going to be increasingly important to put the right insurance in place, while also taking steps to identify and address threats to worker wellbeing.

Author: Murray Bruce