If you have one or more employees – Workers Comp is compulsory

Independent Brewers Association Beer News, Brewery Safety

 

Workers’ compensation is a compulsory, statutory form of insurance for all employers in every state and territory in Australia and provides protection to workers if they suffer a work-related injury or illness.

Any brewery that employs or hires workers on a full-time, part-time or casual basis, under an oral or written contract of service or apprenticeship, must have workers compensation insurance that covers all workers. If you have employees based in other states, check with the local agency to see if they are appropriately covered or if you need a policy in that state.

Sole traders / proprietors, or members of a partnership are not considered as workers. Hence, they cannot take out workers insurance to cover themselves for injuries. For sole traders and partnerships, a suitable alternative may be a personal accident and illness policy, or an income protection insurance policy. However, it’s not a legal requirement to take out one of these policies.

If a worker employed by you suffers a workplace injury or disease, the workers compensation scheme may provide the injured worker with weekly benefits (for any time away from work), medical and hospital expenses, rehabilitation services, certain personal items and in severe cases, lump sum payment for permanent impairment.

The impact of work-related injuries

Workplace injuries can have a big impact on your business, whether it’s due to reduced productivity, lost sales, lower staff morale, or even closure. If a worker is injured during the course of their employment, they’re entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim. In 2012–13, claims from work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP.

Recently, Victual assisted a brewery to reduce their workers compensation by 50%. This saving paid for their IBASafe program and put change in their pocket!

(Safe Work Australia, Workers Compensation Statistics, 2016-17)

If you had a serious claim, how would it impact your brewery operations as well as your business?

Prevention is better than Cure

Worker safety: the optimal strategy

Prevention is an optimal strategy and is an integral part of a safety system. Injury management is most successful in a brewery when a system is fully implemented. A safety program, like IBASafe, is the foundation for establishing a brewery’s positive awareness and commitment to injury management.

Early intervention

Injury management is a process of returning injured workers to their pre-injury status. It is dynamic and interpersonal in nature, requiring active collaboration and co-operation between all involved.  Positive attitudes and supportive workplaces allow efficient processes for an injured worker’s recovery, including the management of:

  • GP’s and Specialists
  • Physiotherapists and other allied health providers
  • Insurers and Rehabilitation Providers; and
  • The relationships between those involved.

Foster and build a strong culture of early intervention, including timely injury reporting. It helps to clarify procedures for early incident reporting, so brewers are first responding to an injured worker ASAP.

“Day zero triage”

Ensuring that all injuries are reported is still not enough. Injuries need to be reported immediately, so both treatment and management of the injury can begin as soon as possible. This significantly improves the likelihood of the injured worker returning to meaningful work, reduces the time needed to do so as well as reducing the chance of the worker losing time from work.

Returning at work

Staying at work helps the injured worker remain connected to their co-workers and minimises the negative impact an injury can have on their wellbeing and their family. Ensuring an injury management strategy is in place with suitable duties are available to workers that allow them to stay at work safely without aggravating their injury. For an employer, having a higher stay at work rate can also translate into a lower WorkCover premium rate.  A ‘stay at work’ outcome is when a worker stays and recovers at work after an injury, rather than taking time off.

Obviously, depending on the severity of the injury, staying at work is not always possible, but wherever an injured worker can be given the opportunity to recover at work, we strongly advocate this.

Injury Management Training

Look outside the box for the message and method of delivering injury management training. Make it relevant, try to remove stigmas, educate on addressing barriers to Return To Work (RTW), how to triage, when and why it is appropriate to engage experts, privacy & confidentiality, striking a blend between being clinical and empathetic – and always align the training message to company values. IBASafe has an online training module on this subject.

It’s different around Australia

Each state government regulates the workers compensation scheme in that state.  The various schemes are administered in different ways and insurers may have different roles within the schemes.

To learn more about workers compensation schemes in Australia visit your government agency:

ACT: https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au

NSW: https://www.icare.nsw.gov.au/

QLD: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/

SA: https://www.rtwsa.com/

TAS: www.workcover.tas.gov.au

VIC: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

WA: www.workcover.wa.gov.au

Contact Victual today for a 10-minute chat about your injury management processes or a review on what you are currently doing regarding Workers Compensation for your brewery.