WorkCover WA releases variations in Prescribed Amounts and other Workers’ Compensation payments for 2013/2014

WorkCover WA today announced the new limits payable under the Act.

Key elements of the revised Prescribed Amounts are:

  • Maximum payment: $206,742.00 (up from $198,365)
  • Medical and hospital expenses: $62,023.00 (up from $59,510)
  • Vocational rehabilitation expenses: $14,472.00 (up from $13,886)
  • Weekly payments: $2,448.50 (up from $2,351.80)

These increases are effective from 1st July, 2013.

Injured employees who are currently in receipt of the maximum weekly compensation of $2,351.80 may be entitled to an increase. You should seek advice from your insurer before making any changes to the approved weekly compensation rate.

The Recommended Prescribed Amount and other Workers’ Compensation Payments for 2013-2014 are available here from the WorkCover WA website.

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AurendaWCD Alliance

With effect from today, 20 May 2013, Aurenda has formed a National Alliance with WCD Workers’ Compensation. The AurendaWCD Alliance creates a truly independent national provider of expert workers’ compensation and injury management solutions.

This National Alliance enables Aurenda and WCD  to deliver a comprehensive service platform nationally, where required, yet maintain our independent service offerings. The combined resources of the Alliance will build upon the existing expertise within each business to service any employer with workers’ compensation needs, no matter where they are located or operate.  As Employer Advocates, our collective focus is  to work with our clients to manage workplace injuries and illness (whether or not they lead to an actual claim); ensure robust injury management and workers’ compensation policies and procedures are in place; and  track and manage costs.

About Aurenda:

Founded in 2002, Aurenda specialises in reducing the financial and human cost of injury in the workplace. We partner with organisations to deliver injury prevention, injury management and training services that ultimately reduce workers’ compensation costs plus the ‘hidden’ costs of workplace injury such as lost time, overtime, sick leave and the poor morale that can flow from poor management of workplace injuries. Our team of professionals is experienced in risk management, paramedical and allied health, workers’ compensation, safety and training.  Working in close partnership with some of Australia’s foremost public and private sector organisations, Aurenda empowers clients to minimise the human and financial costs associated with workplace injury.

About WCD Workers’ Compensation Solutions:

Founded in 1999, WCD Workers’ Compensation Solutions is a management consultancy company that specialises in workers’ compensation.  WCD’s staff has extensive experience across numerous aspects of workers’ compensation, bringing to our clients a complete solution to their workers’ compensation requirements. WCD has a large range of clients from diverse industries, providing premium, claims, and injury management advice to insured and self-insured businesses. Using our broad expertise and combined years of experience we ensure you achieve sustainable financial and social outcomes through our range of practical, cost efficient, and innovative support services.

We’re very excited about this new aspect of our service capabilities, which extends our capacity to deliver excellent workplace injury risk management solutions that achieve sustainable results.

For more information, I direct you to the following website, where you can also view a YouTube video that provides more insight into the AurendaWCD Alliancewww.AurendaWCD.com.au

Of course, you can also visit our respective websites to see more about our services and results:

www.aurenda.com

www.wcdcomp.com.au

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Workers’ Compensation Premiums: How do they work?

The cost of workers’ compensation premiums is driven by three primary factors:

  1. The industry you work in (and therefore the gazette rate for your industry);
  2. Your wage roll; and
  3. Your claims costs.

The first two factors are largely set in stone. WorkCover WA estimates the total cost of the scheme for the next year and determines the overall amount of premium that must be collected to cover these costs. The gazette rate for each industry is calculated based on the total amount of premium required and the historical performance of individual industries within the scheme.

Within our current labour environment, the wage roll for many organisations is increasing as a result of both business growth and upward pressure on wages. There is little you can do to impact on this.

Therefore, your understanding of claims costs and how to control them is your only opportunity to impact on the cost of your workers’ compensation premium.

Claims costs are the actual dollars spent by the insurer when an injury occurs, plus the insurer’s estimate of what the total cost will be by the time the injury has resolved and the claim is closed.

Consider the cost of a claim for an injured worker who requires knee surgery:

Claim Cost table

 

As the employer, you can make decisions about and have legislative control over the following areas:

  • Medical treatment – refer injured workers to consultant doctors with excellent communication skills;
  • Wages – you may choose not to recoup wages;
  • Rehabilitation – in many cases, you are capable of overseeing this with internal resources.

Your understanding of these factors, your approach to injury management and your relationship with your insurer to communicate this will impact on outstanding reserves and can ultimately reduce the cost of the claim. However, the establishment of a consistent, proactive support system for your injured workers is critical to achieving the above outcome.

Employer controlled injury management has other results and benefits:

  • Strong relationships with your injured workers;
  • Positive perception and working relationship with your insurer;
  • Close understanding and relationship with your broker; and
  • Significant reductions in overall claims costs.

The combination of these factors, across all claims, may enable your insurer to heavily discount your gazette rate or, conversely, increase it by an unlimited amount if you have very poor performance.

Another factor that may influence the final cost of your workers’ compensation premium is the
premium structure; for instance, you may be eligible for a retrospective discount based on
meeting claims costs targets. A discussion with your insurance broker is essential to ensure
that you understand how your premium cost is calculated and what targets you should be
striving for to obtain future discounts.

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Benefits of an Injury Management Course

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 

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WorkCover WA releases Workers’ Compensation Premium Rates for 2013-2014

WorkCover WA has released the recommended workers’ compensation premium rates for 2013-2014. Although the average rate across the entire workers’ compensation scheme has decreased by 1.36%, this decrease is not applied uniformly across all 480 premium rating classificatons and decreases or increases in specific gazetted premium rates will vary from industry-to-industry.

The important point for employers to understand is that unless their claims history is better than that of their industry peers, they are unlikely to see any significant reductions in their next workers’ compensation premium renewal and in fact may be subject to increases in premium depending on claims performance.

For employers with 30 June renewals, now is the time to act! If you have any concerns about the potential impact of current claims costs on your premium renewal, contact us to discss what opportunities exist to reduce claims costs in the small windows that remains.

Media Statement – 9 April 2013
WorkCover WA announces Recommended Premium Rates for 2013/14

The Chairman of the WorkCover WA Board, Mr Greg Joyce, today announced the 2013/14 recommended premium rates for compulsory workers’ compensation insurance in Western Australia.

Mr Joyce said that the average recommended premium rate would fall slightly to 1.668 per cent of total wages for 2013/14, down from 1.691 per cent of total wages for 2012/13.

The recommended premium rates are based on independent advice by the workers’ compensation scheme actuary, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and take into account the latest available data on claims experience provided by insurers, as well as broader economic factors such as movements in interest rates and wages.

Mr Joyce said the decrease in 2013/14 is largely due to continued wages growth in Western Australia. However, the positive impact of wages growth is offset by other factors, including increases in claim numbers and associated costs, and reductions in real rates of return for approved insurers.

The decrease is not applied uniformly across all 480 premium rating classifications.

The Recommended Premium Rates for 2013-2014 are available here from the WorkCover WA website.

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FAQ: Working from home, workplace safety and workers’ compensation.

Question:

An employee has asked to work from home. It is possible from a productivity point of view. What happens in relation to Workers’ Compensation?

Answer:

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:

  1. Maintain regular workplace health and safety training and include home-based work safety examples.
  2. Discuss the protocols for home workplace safety upfront. Make sure your staff members understand their responsibilities.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities in Australia 2010-2011

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.

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