Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere – even in places where we feel safe, such as our home and workplace. Companies have an overarching duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their workers. However, accidents can occur despite a company’s best efforts. Health and Safety laws require all companies to actively identify and control hazards and risk in the workplace.
Documenting each incident in the workplace is an essential step towards managing and reducing accident rates in the future. Timely reporting is part of risk assessment procedures to allow businesses to take appropriate corrective actions. Incident notification or reporting, however, is not the same as claiming workers’ compensation, but it is an essential component of both the Safety and Worker’s Compensation systems.
Reviewing trend analysis, on the cause of injury; the type of injury and the body part involved will help employers to further identify areas for change or continual improvement.
Workers’ Compensation Claims by Body Part
In Australia, many serious claims are due to body stressing or repetitive strenuous work. Other common causes included falls, trips, and slips, and getting hit by an object.
Injury frequency by body parts are not surprisingly linked to those areas used biomechanically:
- Upper Limbs: 24%
- Lower Limbs: 23%
- Upper or lower back: 18%
- Neck and Shoulders: 13%
- Mental Illness 9%
- Chest (thorax) and abdomen: 4%
- Head: 4%
All figures given above are based on Safe Work Australia’s statistics for 2018-19.
In 2017-18, almost 90% of injury claims were for musculoskeletal disorders, followed by diseases (such as mental health conditions) and digestive system issues. Approximately 40% of claims were for injuries to muscles or tendons and joints or ligaments. More than 15% claimed compensation for damages sustained due to wounds, amputations, lacerations, and internal organ disorders.
The following costs refer to the median compensation paid across Australia for 2017-18:
- Mental Stress: $36,600 in 2017-18 with a 204% change since 2000-01, where the primary compensation rate was just around $12,000.
- Sound and Ear Pressure: $17,400, leading to over 300% change since 2000-01 in which the rate was only $4,300.
- Muscular Stress: Ranging from $12,200 to $13,500 depending on the cause.
- Bodily Injury Because of a Fall or Trip: The compensation can vary from $12,200 to $12,900.
- Bodily Injury Due to Being Hit: Injuries caused by moving objects, including machinery, another person, or animal, provide $9,400 to $12,800 compensation.
- Chemical Injuries: Any substances, including chemicals, that cause burns or other types of injury to the worker may mean compensation of up to $4,500.
Of all injuries and diseases, the one with the longest average time off work was due to mental health conditions. Employees who suffered from mental health issues at work averaged 17.3 weeks off. Mental health conditions were also the most expensive average cost of all claims. In addition to lost time, mental health conditions can greatly affect productivity.
Aurenda assists our clients in navigating both the physical and mental health complexities within the Workers’ Compensation systems across Australia.
What Does This Mean to Your Organisation?
Injuries can mean extremely high costs, as well as poor morale, lost productivity and reputational damage, which is why companies put in a lot of effort to reduce the frequency of accidents in the workplace. Evaluating your incident records if comprehensive will assist you in understanding what to watch out for.
Many accidents can be avoided if trends are understood and responded to. Preventative measures take time, money, and other resources to implement, but they are always more cost-effective than not taking those measures and sustaining severe injuries in the workplace.
At Aurenda our focus is your business. From the start, we will give you more immediate medical, financial and technical control to improve care for your employees and manage costs.