WorkCover to visit Bundaberg businesses to raise awareness of workers’ coverage

Farmers and business man

WorkCover Queensland is visiting Bundaberg employers in the agriculture and retail industries from 23–26 March 2015 to raise awareness 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.

WorkCover’s Education and Compliance Manager, Erin Leftwich said having the correct workers' compensation cover is essential for business success.

‘Holding an accident insurance policy gives the employer peace of mind knowing that his business is covered should one of his workers sustain a work-related injury,’ Erin said.

Since July 2014, WorkCover has met with over 1400 employers across the state from the agriculture, construction, retail and tourism industries. 

In agriculture, WorkCover has visited more than 100 employers and found that 23 per cent were non-compliant. For the retail sector, more than 320 employers were visited and 18 per cent did not have the correct insurance coverage.

‘Employers who are found to be non-compliant are exposing both themselves and their workers to unnecessary risk,’ Ms Leftwich said.

‘These businesses could potentially be subjected to a costly claim amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the injury sustained by the worker,’ she said.

‘Statutory costs of injury claims in the agriculture and retail sectors for 2013-2014 amounted to approximately $21 million and $32 million respectively. These costs significantly impact the premium rates for employers in these industries,’ she 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.

‘Employers may not be aware of their obligations to insure or they may not realise that some individual contractors and temporary staff, depending on how they are engaged, may require coverage,’ Ms Leftwich said.

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.

For the retail sector, approximately 29 per cent of injuries were sustained by 20-30 year olds, many of them employed on a temporary basis.

WorkCover Queensland is keen to work with employers to ensure the right cover is in place.

‘Educating and providing advice for employers is our focus and our dedicated industry pages on our website provide a wealth of industry-specific information, resources and guides to help employers with all their workers’ compensation needs,’ Ms Leftwich said.

The 150,000 businesses who are part of WorkCover Queensland's scheme benefit from the lowest average premium rate in Australia ($1.20) and one of the nation's fastest return to work rates with over 90 per cent of injured workers returning to work within 12 months.

WorkCover supports and works with employers and workers in what can be a difficult and emotional journey recovering from a work-related injury. Support and benefits may include:

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

For more information on rights and responsibilities and further details on who you should cover for workers' compensation, please see our website or call us on 1300 362 128.

Last updated
12 January 2017