Labour hire claims show ups and downs
Workers’ compensation claims in the labour hire industry are falling, yet compensation payments rose slightly to almost $25 million, WorkCover Queensland data shows.
Of the 3000+ injury claims received in 2014-15 (down by 8% from 2013/14), back injuries made up 21%, while hands and fingers accounted for 19% of injuries.
The majority of injuries fell within the manufacturing industry (28%), with construction at 16% and transport, postal and warehousing at 12%.
The average days off work fell by 5.8% to 30 days, a good improvement.
WorkCover Queensland Customer Service Manager Mike Ironside said it’s vital that our customers know about the importance of having a safe workplace.
“There’s lots of education happening around the health benefits of work*, and how doing promotes recovery. This not only encourages workers to return to work sooner, as part of the rehabilitation process, but actively encourages their transition back into the workplace.”
“Employers should offer suitable alternative duties, if the worker is not able to go back to their previous tasks during rehabilitation. If suitable alternative duties aren’t an option at the original workplace, we can find a host employer through our Recover at Work (R@W) program, to allow the worker to do some type of work during their recovery,” Mike said.
“Ultimately the longer a worker is off work, the more their claim costs rise, and this can be reflected in rising premiums, which understandably, employers want to avoid,” he said.
The stay at work rate for the labour hire industry is currently 50%.
Mike said the ‘Realising the health benefits of work’ position statement indicated that a worker who is off work injured for 45 days has only a 50% chance of returning to work. During this time off work, the weekly benefits we pay to your worker are by far the largest contributor to your claims costs. Weekly benefits are much more costly than medical expenses such as doctor’s fees, surgery costs or x-rays.
As we use your claims costs when working out your premium for the upcoming year, less claim costs = lower premiums for your company.
Top tips to reduce your costs
There are steps you can take to reduce your costs. Here are our top tips:
- Stay at work - The quickest way for your company to reduce claims costs is to encourage your people to stay at work after an injury. This means weekly benefits don’t need to be paid.
- Make suitable duties available - If time off work is necessary, make suitable duties available quickly (and let the medical providers know this), so that your people recover at work. Studies indicate that injured workers who are offered suitable duties are twice as likely to return to work, and ‘doing promotes recovery’* so we encourage a stay at or prompt return to work.
- Recover at Work program - If you don’t have suitable duties for your injured workers, our Recover at Work program may be an option. We have a database of employers willing to help get injured workers back to being job fit, when that’s just not possible in their normal workplace.
“The best defence is a safe workplace. However, if accidents do happen, we encourage recovery while at work, perhaps on suitable duties, or an early return to work,” Mike said.
For more information on suitable duties or return to work, you can call your Relationship Manager, or call 1300 362 128.
*Australasian College of Occupational and Environmental medicine and Royal College of Physicians released in May 2011 – Realising the health benefits of work.
- Last updated
- 07 October 2015
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