Musculoskeletal injury prevention and suitable duties are crucial for ageing workforce

WorkCover Queensland's data shows that around 63 per cent of claims from Queensland health and community care workers aged between 50 and 59 years are due to musculoskeletal injuries and diseases.

The Australian Government Department of Employment's statistics show that 47 per cent of people working in health care and social assistance are aged 45 years or older, ahead of the all-industries average of 39 per cent.

Longer return to work for ageing workforce

WorkCover Industry Manager Matthew Bannan said the Department of Employment statistics highlight that the sector has more of an ageing workforce than most other industries.

"Older workers may recover differently after an injury, and it is important for employers to be ready to offer them suitable duties so that they can return to work quickly without aggravation of their condition.

"The average time it takes for a health and community care worker aged between 50 and 59 to return to work after an injury is 27.1 days."

Suitable duties

"The average time to return to work can be reduced by employers having a suitable duties plan in place for those with musculoskeletal injuries or diseases," Mr Bannan said.

"If an employer has no suitable duties available, the injured worker can return to work with a host employer as part of WorkCover's Recover at Work program."

In 2013–2014, the total statutory claims cost of musculoskeletal injuries and diseases in Queensland's health and community care sector was over $45 million.

Injury prevention

"Injury prevention is obviously always the best remedy in terms of reducing claims costs and industry premium rates," Mr Bannan said.

"There are many workplace health and safety resources for this sector covering topics such as patient handling, caring for your back, and working safely in people's homes, which employers can use to design safer workplaces and processes and minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

"Employers can really make a difference to their WorkCover premium rate by having the right safety systems and suitable duties lists ready to ensure their claims costs are minimised."

More information

Last updated
14 January 2019