Illness or injury in the workplace is more common than you might think. No matter what industry you’re in, the safety of your employees is something that can’t be ignored when running a business.
According to Safe Work Australia preliminary data there were 107,355 serious workers’ compensation claims in 2014/15, which equates to 5.9 serious claims per million hours worked. The cost of work-related incidents to the Australian economy was $61.8 billion.
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 (43.8%).
You must protect your business
The onus is on Australian business owners to navigate the complex world of workplace safety, which means understanding workers’ compensation requirements. 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.