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What are the top 5 workers' compensation claims?

22 January 2020

Unfortunately workplace injuries are regularly reported and such is life.  At legislation, industry and employer level,  safety practices are continuously prioritised and improved upon to minimise accidents.  Digitisation has made a positive contribution with digital documenting.  Forms and other documents can easily be dynamically filed in the likes of a contractor management system (CMS).  Reporting incidents is easily achieved with a few simple clicks.

In the event of an accident occurring in the workplace, where an injury is sustained, workers’ compensation comes into play to protect victims of work-related injury (or disease), to make sure individuals receive damages for their medical expenses and loss of income.

How does workers’ compensation work?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance payment to employees if they are injured at work or become ill due to their duties carried out at work.

Workers’ compensation consists of payments to workers to cover:

  • Lost income
  • Medical and hospital costs
  • Rehabilitation and at home care assistance
  • Travelling expenses
  • Expenses arising from death including funeral costs.
  • Workers’ compensation eligibility

Individuals become eligible to make a claim for workers’ compensation if:

  • The injury or illness occurs at work, while travelling for work, while on a break from work, or visiting another site for work.
  • The individual is defined by law as a worker or deemed worker. This can include full-time, part-time, casual, contractors, and remote workers

Injury classifications include (but are not limited to):

  • Cuts, sprains, fractures, burns and industrial related hearing problems
  • Stress-related psychological issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Long-term illness or resulting death from a work induced injury or disease (e.g. asbestosis)

Where the employer is self-insured, the employer will act on the employees behalf and lodge an application on the claimants behalf. It is crucial for the worker to inform the employer as quickly as is practical.

What are the most reported Workers’ Compensation Claims?

  1. Strains, sprains, trips and slips
  2. Cuts, punctures and wounds
  3. Contusions (otherwise referred to as a bruise)
  4. Inflammation
  5. Fractures

Strains and sprains are the most reported injury in the workplace. This is reported across small and medium sized organisations, except in the case of small businesses where cuts, punctures and wounds occur more often, followed by strains and sprains. Eye injuries occur more in construction and manufacturing.

Mostly caused by a slippery or uneven floor surface, trips and slips typically eventuate in a sustained injury.  Some trips and slips are minor and others can be more significant, leading to a fracture or even a break.

The main causes of injury in the workplace are mainly due to:

  1. Manual handling Injuries
  2. Slips, trips and falls
  3. Colliding or being struck by an object
  4. An accident occurring from misuse of a piece equipment/tool
  5. Sustained trauma over a long period of time.

A commonly reported injury where the activity has included one or a combination of lifting, carrying or pushing moves while moving a tricky object/s. There is a need for workers to be educated around precautionary safety in this area with the likes of knee bending and core control to avoid muscle strain in the lower back and in severe cases disc bulges.

A sustained trauma is generally a recurrent strain or an overworked muscle group in the case of a manual job.  Desk workers can also be affected if they sit for long periods of time and ailments often occur because of prolonged sedentary postures.

There are a number of ways you can assess risk, better control and manage safety in the workplace.  Although accidents will occur employers can take control and have their  workers returning to work in good shape, sooner.

Understand more about employer responsibility with worker safety and due diligence and how psychosocial safety in the workplace is ever prevalent and how employers can equip themselves to recognise the signs to minimise future risk.   

Sally Danbury
Sally Danbury

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