Category Archives: Injury Management

Q. I understand I need an Injury Management Policy? Is this true?

A. In Western Australia, the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act requires all businesses to have an
1.    Injury Management Policy;
2.    Injury Management System; and
3.    Return to Work (Injury Management) Plans for all injured workers with less than a full capacity to return to work.

Just like your OHS Policy, your Injury Management Policy needs to be displayed in the workplace.  There are fines and penalties for not having one in place.  If you are requested to show an employee your Injury Management System you could be fined if you do not have one available.

There are similar requirements in all ten workers’ compensation jurisdictions across Australia; the terminology may change, but the principles are the same!

Your Injury Management System could be developed and maintained –

  • In-house by your own safety or human resources departments; or
  • Externally with the support of Aurenda, who have the expertise and tools to support your team.

Contact Aurenda on (08) 6389 8900 for advice on how to put this in place.


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Safety saves lives, injuries and money says new study

How often do we say that prevention is better than the cure?  Aurenda has been saying it for over ten years now. Money, time and effort spent on safety and injury management now (prevention) saves you later with fewer lost time injuries, decreased injury claims and – potentially – lower workers’ compensation premiums.

So someone in America has done a study.

The new study, co-authored by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Toffel, Professor David Levine of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and Boston University doctoral student Matthew Johnson, examines workplace safety inspections conducted by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). It will be published in Science journal.

The study found that within high-hazard industries in California, inspected workplaces reduced their injury claims by 9.4 percent and saved 26 percent on workers’ compensation costs in the four years following the inspection, compared to a similar set of uninspected workplaces. On average, inspected firms saved an estimated $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over that period. What’s more, there was no discernible impact on the companies’ profits.

The cost savings applied to both small (less than $2000) and large (more than $2000) workers’ compensation claims, and the reduced injuries and cost savings lasted for at least four years after the inspection. These findings suggest the inspections had a lasting, across-the-board effect.

“We spent several years collecting data, not just on injuries, which is very important, but also on other indicators to see whether inspections led to problems they are often accused of causing – like whether they increased costs and led to the elimination of jobs. We looked at company survival, employment, sales and total payroll to see if inspections were detrimental to the employers,” said Levine.

“Across the numerous outcomes we looked at, we never saw any evidence of inspections causing harm,” Toffel explained. “If OSHA inspections conducted in all 50 states are as valuable as the ones we studied, inspections improve safety worth roughly $6 billion to employers and employees, ignoring pain and suffering. The overall message of our research is that these inspections worked pretty much the way one would hope. They improved safety, and they didn’t cost firms enough that we could detect it.”

From Science

This study was applied to high risk industries, small to large enterprises and the results were the same: workplace site inspections and audits saved the business money in the long run. At Aurenda we say “because injury costs” and here is the proof.



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Fall Protection in the Workplace

The recent death of a man in South Perth who fell from a cherry picker highlights the need for fall protection in the work place.

Aurenda believes fall protection is a simple and effective measure that is vital on every single construction work site in this country. Occupational health and safety in this industry is not a suggestion or something that can be ignored or forgotten because the risks are too great. Not only will members of this industry find themselves in dire economic trouble if they fail to follow the guidelines, the risk of debilitating injury or death is simply too great.

A few cases recently have highlighted the need and sometimes lack of fall protection equipment.

Incident 1
Just recently a NSW court has fined a company and its director after for a young new worker’s death. Despite requiring workers to wear a harness and lanyard when working at heights, a specialist demolition company failed to ensure the fall protection was anchored before workers were exposed to risk. The Court heard that in August 2007, the company began to dismantle the roof of a single-storey suburban house. Workers made an access point through the bathroom ceiling near the edge of the roof, but then had to climb unsecured up the roofing tiles to anchor their lanyards at the ridge board. An experienced worker already at the peak said he saw the new labourer move out onto the tiles, but did not see him fall. The injured worker sustained traumatic head injuries and fractured ribs, and died in hospital six days later.

Incident 2
Another incident occurred in Victoria where fall protection failed to be implemented, caused enormous economic fallout, as well the serious injury of an apprentice. The accident, which occurred in 2010 has only just been resolved. It occurred when four construction workers, including three apprentices, were replacing storm damaged roof tiles on a property. The 2.4 metre high rooftop working space didn’t not have the required guard rails installed, so when one of the apprentices lost his footing, he fell to ground, at which point cement splashed in his eye. While the fall itself did not hurt the apprentice, the cement damage which caused a number of following events, eventually lost him his sight in his left eye.

Incident 3
WorkCover NSW fined three companies over an accident involving serious injuries suffered by a 21 year old man who fell 14 meters off a scaffold at a paper mill. In that incident, safety practices across the entire project were questioned after the man fell through a 430mm gap between the scaffolding and wood chip machine.

For the Western Australian Code of Practise on Prevention of Falls in the Workplace go to


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What expenses am I liable for when someone has a workplace injury?

Q. What expenses am I liable for when someone has a workplace injury?

Managing Director:  The insurance company that underwrites your workers’ compensation policy is liable for wages up to $190,000 and medical expenses up to $50,000 (which can be extended by another $50,000 for a worker with a severe injury). These expenses can be extended by another $100,000 in serious cases, if the worker chooses to take the $100,000 and forego their Common Law entitlement. Rehabilitation can add another $12,000 and there are additional minor expenses, such as travel, that can also be reimbursed.  The consequence of these expenses is that it only takes one significant injury to add significant costs to your claims history. 

Client Service Manager:  A particularly important reminder for businesses with a monthly payroll is that employers must pay an injured worker their wage entitlements within 14 days of the insurer approving the claim. There is a $2,000 fine for failure to do so.

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How can I reduce my workers’ compensation premium?

Q. How can I reduce my workers’ compensation premium?

Managing Director of Aurenda: For a small to medium sized organisation (SME), your premium is based on the gazette rate, which is set by WorkCover. The government sets a rate according to the industry you operate in. For example it may be that your industry on average pays 5% of wages in workers compensation. That 5% becomes your premium. If you have a good broker, within that, they may negotiate a claims experience discount (CED) where you may get up to 15% of the premium back if you either have no injuries or if you manage them really well.

Aurenda Client Service Manager: Contact Aurenda immediately on (08) 6389 8900 and we can advise you on how to implement best-practice injury management processes to reduce the cost of claims, which will lead to reduced premiums.

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Counting the Cost

Extensions to Lodgement Timeframes for WA Workers’ Compensation Claims

One of the amendments to the Western Australian Workers’ Compensation legislation that hasn’t received much publicity is the extension to the amount of time that an employer has to lodge a claim with their insurer.

Effective 1 October 2011, employers will have five (5) working days to lodge an injured worker’s completed Claim Form on their insurer. The insurer’s timeframe for making a decision on the claim does not change – they still have 14 days to assess it – and therefore workers may have to wait up to 19 days for their first response from the insurer.

Currently, employers must submit workers’ compensation claims to their insurer within three working days of receiving the completed Claim Form from the injured worker.  For employers who fail to do so, the possibility has existed for the insurer to refuse to cover the initial costs of the claim; in practice, however, this has not occurred.

A significant change for both workers and employers is that it is now an offense for employers to delay the lodgement of the claim. If a late lodgement is reported to WorkCover, the employer may be liable for a $1,000 penalty. (Section 57A(2A) of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Act 2011.)

What is Aurenda’s perspective on this?

Time and time again, research shows that early intervention results in positive outcomes for both employers and workers who are injured at work.  Extending the lodgement time to five working days will lead to delays in the initial injury management response from some employers, negatively impacting on return to work timeframes and claims costs.

We encourage employers to obtain completed paperwork from injured workers and lodge workers’ compensation claims as quickly as possible.  For the vast majority of claims, getting a speedy decision from the insurer on liability and initiating return to work at the earliest possible opportunity is best for everyone.  In instances where there are questions about the validity of the claim, investigations can be instigated immediately while information about the injury circumstances is still fresh in people’s minds.

The upside of a possible $1,000 penalty for failing to lodge a claim within five working days is the increased motivation of employers not to leave Claim Forms sitting on someone’s desk because they’re ‘too busy to get to it’!

To make sure that you’re not counting the cost of a delay in lodging a workers’ compensation claim, here are some tips:

  • Get your injured workers to complete their Claim Form as soon as possible
  • Date-stamp the Claim Form when you receive it, in case it has been sitting on the worker’s kitchen bench for a few days after they signed it
  • Complete the Employer’s Report of Injury right away, and forward all claims paperwork to your insurer immediately
  • Even if you haven’t received the Claim Form, get in touch with your employee to initiate the injury management process as soon as possible after you become aware that they’ve suffered a workplace injury

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WA Workers’ Compensation amendments to take effect 1 October 2011

Western Australia’s Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act (“the Act”) has been amended on a piecemeal basis many times since its introduction in 1981. This has resulted in a complex and highly prescriptive statute that is difficult to understand and sometimes frustrating to apply. 

In April 2010, after 12 months of deliberation, the government released WorkCoverWA’s recommendations for an improved structure for the Act, to enhance the readability and consistency of the legislation and to improve the capacity of the legislation to accommodate changing circumstances in the workforce. 

These changes will come into effect on 1 October 2011. 

There are three changes that are of particular relevance at a day-to-day level for Western Australian employers: 

  1. Age-based limits on workers’ compensation entitlements are to be removed so that an injured worker older than 64 will have the same entitlements as any other injured worker.  Currently, anyone over 64 is only entitled to one year of wages.  (This change is not retrospective and will only apply to injuries that occur on or after 1 October.)
  2. The amendments will compel an employer to pay an injured worker their entitlements within 14 days of the insurer approving the claim.  There will be a $2,000 fine for failure to do so.  For employers who pay monthly, this is an important consideration in making sure that your systems will allow for possible ad hoc payments to be made between ‘normal’ payroll runs.
  3. The calculation of the rate of pay for the first 13 weeks of incapacity will be based solely on the injured worker’s earnings in the 12 months previous to the injury. Currently, the wage calculation depends on whether someone is on an Award or not, which is confusing and often delays the calculation of wage entitlement.

To make sure that you stay up-to-date with these and many other changes coming into effect, connect with Aurenda for regular updates.


Filed under Aurenda, Injury Management, Workers Compensation, Workplace Injury