Many Australians will spend a good part of their life working. Therefore, creating jobs that are satisfying and safe is the best way to contribute to positive health, greater engagement and better financial security. Regardless of what industry you work in, or whether your job involves high-risk labour, work is an important determinant of health.
Happy workers create happy employers, and the children of happy workers experience constructive emotional, educational and social benefits. It’s all linked. Hand-in-hand.
But what about when work goes wrong? There’s a major risk factor that comes with many jobs – and not just the labour-intensive work either. Poor health, ongoing illnesses, disabilities and in extreme cases, death can result. In 2013/2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed over half a million workplace injuries occurred.
It’s compulsory for employers to take out worker’s compensation insurance to protect their staff and avoid racking up legal costs. Workers’ compensation for small businesses is vital to paying out reimbursements to any employees who suffer a work-related injury. Here’s everything you need to know about worker’s comp and the top reasons why people claim.
When a Job Causes Injury
Employees can make a claim when an injury has occurred at work. Any time a job causes an injury or illness, this claim can be filed by the worker. Providing they have proof the injury has occurred on the job, and proper paper work has been completed, compensation is entitled. Claims are in place to ensure the worker gets payments from the employer for medical bills, rehabilitation and missed work due to the injury.
Some of the most common reasons why claims are made include:
If a worker lifts, pushes, throws or pulls something which results in an injury, this is classified as overexertion. Pulled muscles and strained joints are common examples. This is one of the most common injuries that employees claim, and is more likely to happen in jobs that require physical labour.
Slips and Falls
Another common claim is slips and falls. These injuries can happen in any workplace, from the office environment to construction jobs and everything in between. Slips and falls on a basic level can cause all sorts of injuries. For higher risk jobs, falls to lower levels like off ladder, roof or multi-level workspace can occur. Employees in white-collar professions, like nurse and teachers, could have injuries from tripping down staircases too.
Struck by or against an Object
These types of claims occur when a worker falls into something or an object drops on them. Injuries from this are common in both offices and factories, where workers can become injured by grabbing items off a shelf.
One of the hardest injuries to prove for claim purposes is injuries that result from repetitive motions. Examples can result from lifting boxes on a regular basis, or smaller gestures like using a mouse at the office computer. Medically, repetitive motion injuries include carpal tunnel, bursitis, and tendonitis.
Machine and Highway Accidents
Machine accidents take place in industrial work environments where workers are crushed by heavy machinery, resulting in hefty medical costs and extreme physical consequences. To prevent these types of incidents, workplace safety and training is essential. Highway incidents are common with truck drivers or corporate business personal who travel a lot for work. These types of accidents involve injuries that occur when driving on the job.
Whilst it’s not as common as the other injuries, workplace violence is something that still needs to be considered with compensation claims. Jobs most in threat including police and security officers, nurses and orderlies, and heavy truck drivers.
Why Worker’s Compensation Matter
Worker’s compensation is vital for both the business owner and the employee. It’s in place to protect both sides of the fence. Thus, it’s paramount everyone has a solid understanding of what claims can be made and the process involved. Worker’s compensation provides coverage. Without it, costs can be detrimental to business owners and employees. The importance of being protected is valuable and essential if you have staff working under the business that aren’t owners.
Legal requirements: It’s the law for all businesses to have worker’s compensation.
Worker’s comp can positively affect your premium: The better you control accidents and keep staff safe in the workplace through active safety programs and training, the lower the payments are.
It’s vital in protecting your most valuable asset: Employees are valuable to your business, and if they become injured you want to ensure they’re fit to get back to work as soon as possible.
Recovering at Work and the Benefits to Your Business
Depending on the type of injury sustained and the industry of the job, time off work may not be medically necessary. Being able to do other jobs within the business can encourage the employee to stay active, which can be an important part of treatment and rehabilitation. Encouraging and helping workers to recover within the workplace holds benefits for you as the employer. Not only does it reduce the financial impact, but it eliminates the need to hire new staff, demonstrates to current employees that they’re valuable and maintains good employer-employee relationships.
Promoting a better workplace with safety nets is something business owners should be working on every day. Understanding worker’s compensation and what claims are made is valuable to addressing new ways we can work. By keeping staff safe and happy, business is more productive, effective and positive for everyone.
About the Author:
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Phoenix Insurance Brokers – A leading provider of insurance including worker’s compensation for businesses, and risk management services. You can catch her on Google+.