An interesting article was published in Australian newspapers last week. It was the story of a truck driver who works for a mining company in WA. It is a story about rights: the rights of the injured worker and the rights of the employer. Reading the article is seems that there is much confusion out there about the WA Workers’ Compensation legislation. And as the articles title goes to show, for the person who has never had to deal with it, it can be a quagmire of lawyers, committees, departments, insurers and doctors.
The position we take at Aurenda is that the employer is a mining company. Their core business is mining. They have full intentions of keeping their employees and contractors safe and uninjured. Nobody wants the people who are doing work for them, to be hurt in anyway.
Some mining companies choose to keep their injury management entirely in-house with no reference to external specialists to assist them . As injury management specialists we believe this is toying with danger. As much as they have a human resources department to oversee it, the reality is that these are human resource specialists with a mining focus not injury management specialists.
We can see from this article that the people coordinating the injury management are attempting to do their best with good intentions. The reality is that they just don’t have the experience of a company like ours, where what we do is Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management day in, day out. We have seen just about every possible permeation of workplace injury and a library of case studies to guide us in times when the case is unusual.
A company we work with recently sent us some feedback for one of our injury management managers:
- Timely communication – quick to notify of any issues (e.g. attendance, non-compliance, performance problems)
- Quick return of requested documentation (e.g. within a few hours of request)
- Effective management – takes on board our suggestions, open to feedback and eager and willing to cooperate with Injury Management strategies
- Solutions-focused approach – rather than taking an obstructive approach re: what can’t be done or why that’s hard, he works with us to find a solution and how he can help
If all these points had been applied to the case highlighted in the newspaper, perhaps the conflict may not have arisen.
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
The other day we posted an American article on Linked In about a survey of injured workers and why they get compensation lawyers. The most surprising reason was that almost half the injured workers thought their claims had been contested, even though the paperwork had just begun and no decisions had yet been made.
Click here for a link to the article
The cause of this was put down to employer silence and lack of communication with the injured worker. As much as we would like to think that Australia is different to the USA, we know from experience that the same thing happens here.
When a workplace injury occurs, some employers will put their heads in the sand.
Although the law is very clear about the responsibilities of employers in relation to workplace injuries, when it does happen, some employers don’t really know how to handle it. Unfortunately they choose the “don’t say anything” route.
As in any work relationship, communication is the key to understanding by both employer and employee.
So before the unspeakable happens, what is the best way of avoiding this lack of communication?
- Employ a third party to assist you. (that’s the plug to contact us)
- Educate yourself and staff about who will deal with workplace injuries and what processes will be followed.
Aurenda’s Injury Management Coordinator Course is employer-focused and designed for anyone who has responsibility for supervising or managing injured workers in the workplace. This is an essential program to learn practical skills to proactively manage injured workers and their claims.
Aurenda’s next course is scheduled for the 27th, 28th February and 1st March. (Wed, Thurs, Fri)
Aurenda’s Managing Director, Deb Macksy, and Steve Heathcote, Workplace Relations Partner from Jarman McKenna, had 70 guests at this morning’s Kobayashi Maru Breakfast Seminar rapt with their exploration of the final frontier for employers – managing the no-win scenario of competing legal obligations in the pre-employment process. Through their analysis of the conundrums faced by Mr Scott, the new Human Resources Manager for Star Fleet Pty Ltd, Deb and Steve highlighted to the audience the critical factors that need to be considered during the pre-employment process to balance the exposures created by workers’ compensation risks and discrimination claims.
The concluding seminar of the Kobayashi Maru Breakfast Series will be held on Thursday 18 October, with employers receiving guidance on managing the no-win scenario at the other end of the spectrum – termination versus discrimination when workers are no longer physically able to do their job.
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
When someone is injured at work you are obliged to contact the following organisations:
- If you are a client of Aurenda, contact us on (08) 6389 8989 – we will provide the next steps;
- If you are not a client of ours, you will need to contact your insurer; and
- Depending on the severity of the injury, you may also be required to notify WorkSafe WA or the relevant Authority in your state.
In Western Australia, reporting is required for employees who suffer death/ injury/ disease at work or at employer-provided residential premises as described under s23G(2) of the WA Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
Types of injuries that must be reported to WorkSafe WA:
- A fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis.
- A fracture of any bone in the arm, other than in the wrists or hand, or in the leg, other than a bone in the ankle or foot.
- An amputation of an arm, a hand, finger, finger joint, leg, foot, toe or toe joint.
- The loss of sight of an eye.
- Any injury other than those referred to above which, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days of the day on which the injury occurred.
Types of diseases that must be reported:
- viral hepatitis,
- legionnaire’s disease and
where these diseases are contracted during work involving exposure to human blood products, body secretions, excretions or other material which may be a source of infection.
Occupational zoonoses (diseases spread from one species (animals) to humans):
- Q fever,
- leptospiroses and
where these diseases are contracted during work involving the handling of, or contact with, animals, animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcases or animal waste products.