Stanthorpe farmers talk workers’ compensation with the experts

strawberry picking

WorkCover Queensland is visiting Stanthorpe fruit and vegetable farmers from 24–26 February 2015 to remind growers of the importance of correctly covering workers for workplace injuries.

The visits are part of WorkCover's ongoing state-wide education program designed to help regional Queensland businesses meet their workers' compensation and return to work responsibilities.

Over 1200 employers representing various industries across Queensland have been visited since July 2014.

WorkCover's Agriculture Industry Manager, Kylie Maras said holding an accident insurance policy gives the employer peace of mind knowing their business will be covered should a worker sustain a work-related injury.

'Being uninsured or underinsured exposes both the employer and worker to unnecessary risk,' Ms Maras said.

In late 2014, during education visits to 56 Sunshine Coast strawberry farms, WorkCover found that only 35 employers had appropriate workers' compensation coverage for their workers. The remaining 21 were either uninsured or underinsured, leaving both employers and workers at risk.

'Serious injuries can result in claims costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and significant premium increases, so there is no excuse for employers not to insure their workers,' Ms Maras said.

'Employers have a duty of care to have the right cover in place, not only for the wellbeing of their workers, but also to avoid potential penalties if they are found to be uninsured or underinsured.'

With almost 40 per cent of injuries in the agriculture sector sustained by 20-30 year olds, employers face a significant challenge to comply with workers' compensation obligations given the large number of seasonal and overseas workers engaged under a variety of employment conditions.

'Employers may not be aware of their obligations to insure or they may not realise that some individual contractors, depending on how they are engaged, may require coverage,' Ms Maras said.

'As Stanthorpe farmers gear up for the peak strawberry picking season, our visits to the region are timely,' she said.

'Educating and providing advice for employers about correctly covering agriculture workers is important to protect the viability of the workers' compensation scheme for more than 150,000 Queensland businesses,' Ms Maras said.

Agriculture employers and injured workers can access a range of practical resources and information about workers' compensation and recovering from a workplace injury via WorkCover's dedicated online portal (www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/agriculture).

Injured workers can also access information on the following benefits during their recovery:

Employers can check if their contractors are 'workers' and should be covered by their WorkCover policy by using the ATO employee/contractor decision tool.

You can apply for a policy at any time using our online services, or read more about renewing your policy including information on what wages should be declared.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities and further details on who you should cover for workers' compensation, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call us on 1300 362 128.

Last updated
12 January 2017