Workplace injuries are an unfortunate reality in many sectors across Australia. Accidents can even lead to employee deaths in worst-case scenarios, but how dangerous is the industry in which you work? Workers compensation is one of the oldest types of insurance in the Australia, providing a much-needed support to workers in all industries.
Regardless of the job people do, there’s always a risk that an accident will occur, and so employers are forced by law to take care of it, and insure their workers against potential problems. The type of compensation paid and other workers compensation statistics can give us a good idea of the overall picture in the Australia.
According to the Australia Bureau of Labor Statistics, $56 billion was paid in workers compensation in 2004, and the number has been steadily increasing. In 2007 it was almost $70 billion, and strains were the number one factor used in claims, with 40.8% of the money paid. Following that were contusions with 8.7%, lacerations with 8.2%, and fractures with 7.8%. The vast majority of benefits were paid to cover physical injuries, mostly as a result of an actual accident while at work, where someone dropped heavy equipment, or a machine didn’t react the way it was supposed to.
Typically, almost half of the money covers medical bills, while the rest is paid in missed salary and financial aid. It’s not rare that a worker has to spend several weeks recuperating before going back to work, so while they may be physically healed, they still need to take it easy.
Breakdown of industry and labor law
Also, because industries where workers compensation lawyers are typically the most needed are those which require a lot of physical activities, that doesn’t help when workers have to go back to work. They need to be completely back on their feet; otherwise the risk is too high that another accident may happen. There are clauses in most of the State laws however that do allow workers who are well enough to return to work, but at a reduced job, doing fewer hours, and then they can get a partial benefit during that time period.
Then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s those who suffer a permanent injury and can’t return to work at all. There are permanent injury clauses as well, which covers salary for the rest of your working life, if the injury is severe enough that it’s preventing you from working.
According to the data, the most dangerous professions are farming, fishing and forestry. Also, men are much more at risk than women, with 93% of workplace fatalities being men. The good news is that fatalities have been decreasing almost every year in the last decade, however with medical bills becoming higher; the amount paid has gone up. The statistics show that the vast majority of workers return to work after their injuries, with the other cases being a minority.