Following a review by WorkCover WA, the workers’ compensation medical certificates have been revised and come into effect on 1 July 2014. They will now be known as Certificates of Capacity and replace the existing First, Progress and Final medical certificates currently used in WA.
WorkCover WA’s bulletin advises their intent is:
The certificates of capacity support the principle that work helps recovery. In general, work is beneficial to health and important for recovery. The certificates of capacity:
- Assist GPs to focus on what the worker can do to remain in or return to work as soon as possible
- Optimise the communication of information essential to support the worker’s recovery
- Help GPs to articulate the worker’s progress and ongoing needs, assisting insurers to make informed decisions about the worker’s claim for workers’ compensation
Our view is no matter the format of the Certificates, the key elements remain:
- Clear diagnosis
- Best and timely treatment
- Detailed capacity for work
- Understanding by the doctor the availability of alternative or restricted duties if the injured employee has reduced capacity for work
Jane Carn is the Workplace Health and Safety and Injury Management Manager at Valued Independent People Inc (VIP).
My background was in care. I worked on ‘the floor’ in a 24-hour care home in England for six years. In the last two years I was an Assistant Manager. I worked for two companies and was the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) representative for both. I had input into the health and safety of both places. Most of my OSH knowledge is through on-the-floor experience so I am building up my training.
I came from England to Australia so I needed to learn all the different laws and regulations. I completed the 2-day Occupational Health and Safety Refresher Course at Aurenda to build up my knowledge. I also completed the Injury Management Course. A lot of knowledge that I now use in this position was covered in the course. I am currently studying for my Certificate IV in Health and Safety.
I have worked at Valued Independent People Inc (VIP) for about 10 months. VIP is a disability sector organisation that provides support for adults with disabilities and dual diagnosis mental health issues to participate in the community. I am the workplace Health and Safety Manager which includes being the Injury Management Coordinator. I work with the staff and our individuals making sure they are all practicing workplace health and safety and following manual handling guidelines.
On a daily basis I receive all the incident and accident forms. I investigate them all and where further actions arise from my investigations, I pass them on to the relevant people to address. I observe the workplaces making sure people are following the policies and procedures and people are happy in their work and write and amend policies and procedures as required. I provide support to all staff and they can ask me any questions. I manage the Health and Safety Representatives in the bases (VIP has four bases) and make sure they are up to date with their health and safety knowledge. I make sure they have access to the current OSH procedures.
In my Injury Management Coordinator role, if someone gets injured at work I follow the procedures in getting them to the doctor, and that is where Aurenda come in. They are the middleman between VIP and the workers compensation insurance company. I send them all the paperwork and they deal with the insurance company. They are there on the end of the phone if I need to ask any questions.
The Injury Management Course was three days full of information. Coming from England, there was no injury management side of things when I was there. I came into a job with minimal knowledge and the course was fabulous. I have been here nearly a year and managed to get quite a few claims through. I also understand what goes on even though I have a lot more to learn.
Aurenda are also very helpful and support me. In the course we went through all the company implications, the process that a claim needs to go through, the input that we need to have with the worker. Aurenda give you a lot of strategies to work with in different cases.
Video of Jane speaking about Aurenda’s courses
An employee has asked to work from home. It is possible from a productivity point of view. What happens in relation to Workers’ Compensation?
Having home-based employees is becoming more common due to the changes in flexible hours, technology and productivity. However, having your staff working from home does raise issues that you cannot ignore when it comes to Work Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation.
“When you allow an employee to work from home, you surrender control of their environment and working habits, so it’s essential to take the time to prepare in order to avoid landing in hot water. Fear of legal action shouldn’t deter you from encouraging flexible work practices, but it does mean that you should take measures to protect yourself should a crisis strike.” http://www.businessroom.com/en/Article/Categories/Managing/Workers-compensation-for-employees-that-work-from-home
If you decide to go down the path of allowing employees to work from home on a regular basis, be proactive in your approach:
- Maintain regular workplace health and safety training and include home-based work safety examples.
- Discuss the protocols for home workplace safety upfront. Make sure your staff members understand their responsibilities.
- As the employer, you have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace wherever your employees are based – and this includes their home. Conduct a workplace audit of their home working environment.
- Employee workplace safety responsibilities still exist at home so they must identify unsafe situations and report hazards, incidents and injuries. Provide them with specific training in conducting worksite risk assessments and place expectations on them to provide your safety personnel with the outcomes of these assessments.
Ultimately, if your home-based employee does suffer an injury in their workplace (their home!), they may well be covered by workers’ compensation. However, there are parameters that need to be met for an injury to be considered under workers’ compensation, ie did work contribute to a significant degree to the injury? Your workers’ compensation process should be initiated to enable a proper and fair assessment of the situation to be undertaken prior to a decision on liability.
The Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2010–11 Report by Safe Work Australia found that 374 people died from a work-related traumatic injury in 2010–11. This is the lowest number of work related deaths in eight years.
The following are other statistics from that report. We must remember that these are more than statistics, they are 374 people who lost there lives in tragic circumstances.
As the Safe Work Australia Chair, Tom Phillips said “a single death is still one too many.
- 220 workers (59%) died from injuries incurred at work; 110 workers (29%) died from an incident while travelling to or from work and 44 people (12%) died as a bystander to someone else’s work activity.
- Two thirds of the work-related fatalities in 2010–11 involved vehicles. Half of these incidents occurred on a public road while the other half occurred at a worksite.
- More than a quarter of workers who died were working in or around a truck.
- Australian workers aged 65 years and over had the highest fatality rate. There were 10.54 deaths per 100 000 workers aged 65 years or over. This was nearly six times the rate for all workers.
- Younger workers aged under 25 years had the lowest fatality rate of all age groups. There were 0.88 deaths per 100,000 workers in this age group. This was the lowest rate recorded for this age group in eight years.
- The Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest number of fatalities with 60 deaths in 2010–11. This was followed by the Transport, postal and warehousing industry with 42 deaths and the Construction industry with 39.
- Close to one quarter (24%) of all worker fatalities occurred while working on a farm.
All elected H&S representatives are required to attend an accredited Health & Safety course. For employers of workers at remote sites, the logistics of this can be complicated – and expensive.
Aurenda has developed customised training for Remote Site Health & Safety Representatives. This course can be conducted on remote mine sites for H&S Reps from a single company, or include personnel from contractors across the site. Taking into account the longer days on site, our Remote Site training can save you time by decreasing the number of days you need to release your H&S Reps for. Additional accommodation expenses are also reduced by having your Reps undertake this compulsory training while at site.
Don’t forget Aurenda also offers both the Introductory and Refresher Rep courses each month at its office in Nedlands.
After ten years in the injury management business, we at Aurenda have noticed some changes. One change is the increasingly larger waistlines of workers. We are seeing – through our pre-employment assistance to clients – doctors certifying workers who weigh 150kg “fit” for a role which involves sitting on a seat only rated to 130kg. Clearly, the perception of what is “normal” is changing.
In 2002 Australians rated as overweight or obese made up 56% of the population and in 2012 it was 72% (ABS). We are now officially one of the fattest nations in the world and alarmingly this is expected to increase to 80% of the population by 2020. Given the difficulty of finding “fit and healthy” workers to employ in manually-intensive roles, an area of major workers’ compensation concern for employers is the increased likelihood of injury in the first instance and the greater difficulty in returning injured workers who are obese to full capacity once an injury has occurred.
Aurenda is excited to announce the introduction of our Injury Management Coordinators Course!
This is the first Employer-Focused program offered of its kind. Learn injury management principles from Australia’s Leaders in Injury Cost Reduction.
Aurenda’s Injury Management Coordinators Course will provide participants with insight into the many aspects of workers’ compensation. Attendees will gain skills and knowledge to enable those who have workplace injury management responsibilities to manage their injured workers in line with the rights and obligations contained in the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and Regulations.
Audience: Aurenda’s Injury Management Coordinators Course is designed for anyone who has responsibility for supervising or managing injured workers in the workplace. If you are a Safety Advisor, OSH Rep, Return to Work Coordinator, HR/Administration Advisor, involved in Payroll, or a direct Supervisor or Manager, this is an essential program to learn practical skills to proactively manage injured workers and their claims.
Course Focus: Aurenda’s three day course in injury management encompasses a multitude of topics that are relevant to the effective management of workplace injuries.
- Workers’ Compensation Legislation
- Understanding Workers’ Compensation Premiums
- Applying a Compliant Injury Management System
- Weekly Payments
- Insurer’s Responsibilities
- Statutory Settlements and Closures
- Injury Management Systems in WA
- Planning and Developing an Injury Management Policy
- Injury Management Procedure
- Processing Claims
- Responsibilities of all Parties
- Develop rehabilitation programs and return to work plans
- Identifying alternate, modified or suitable duties
- Implementing Return to Work Strategies
- Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Services
- Communication Strategies in Workers’ Compensation
- Case Studies
- Managing Complex Claims
Completion of assessment for the unit below will constitute partial completion of Certificate IV of OH&S (BSB41407) or the Diploma of OH&S (BSB51307) qualification: BSBHIRM509A (Manage Rehabilitation or Return to Work Programs)
Our inaugural course is only a few weeks away. Be one of the first to enrol!
Duration: 3 days
Course Date: Wed 25 | Thu 26 | Fri 27 July 2012
Course Times: 8.00am – 4.00pm
Course Fee: $1,100.00 (includes GST component in relation to catering)
Registration Form: To download the Registration form Click here.
Don’t delay, take this opportunity of registering your interest at: firstname.lastname@example.org