Business owners are required to navigate the complex world of workplace safety. Here’s some things you need to know to ensure your business is compliant.
Injury in the workplace
Illness or injury in the workplace is more common than you might think. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s an area of running a business that can’t be ignored.
The statistics speak for themselves. There were 106,565 serious workers’ compensation claims in 2013/14, which equates to 5.9 serious claims per million hours worked, according to Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics data from Safe Work Australia. The economic cost of work-related incidents in 2012/13 was $61.8 billion, statistics show.
The three industries with the highest number of serious claims per million hours worked were transport, postal and warehousing (9.3%), healthcare and social assistance (8.7%), and agriculture, forestry and fishing (8.6%) in 2013/14.
Most of the injuries during this time were musculoskeletal disorders, which led to 90% of serious claims - the most common were traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon injuries (45%). While claims are down on previous years, businesses still need to be prepared, just in case.
Wise employers foster a health and safety culture within the workplace
Protect your business
The onus is on Australian business owners to navigate the complex world of workplace safety, which includes understanding workers’ compensation requirements. Workers’ compensation insurance is compulsory for business owners in all states and territories.
Workers’ compensation insurance is compulsory for business owners in all states and territories.
This form of insurance pays employees if they are injured at work or become sick due to their work. The payment can cover their wages if they’re not fit to work, medication expenses and rehabilitation.
Employers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that the workplace is a safe working environment, which extends to events where employers are technically off the clock, such as work Christmas parties.
Uninsured employers may still be able to claim for workers’ compensation benefits for staff in case of injury or illness, so check with your local authority. There’s lots of great information on the Safe Work Australia site.
Each state and territory has independent regulators and administrators in place to run workers’ compensation, so make sure you become familiar with your local authorities. The rules while similar differ between each state and territory.