13 Oct 2017

$1.2 billion in net claims: How Queensland workers are being hurt

There were 66,430 Queenslanders injured on the job last financial year, costing WorkCover Queensland $800 million in statutory claims.

That was an increase on the 65,302 statutory claims accepted by the body the previous year – at a cost of $769 million.

Statutory claims are when compensation is paid, regardless of who is at fault, and can include weekly payments as income replacement, lump sums to compensate for permanent impairment and hospital and medical expenses.

The most common type of injury was musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, making up just more than half of all accepted statutory claims in 2016-17.

The next most common were wounds, lacerations, amputations and internal organ damage (24.6 per cent of claims), other injuries and diseases (10.5 per cent), and fractures (7 per cent).

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Burns made up 2.2 per cent of accepted statutory claims, while mental disorders were at 1.4 per cent.

The most common location for injuries was the upper limbs (19.5 per cent), followed by hand and fingers (18.3 per cent) and lower limbs (17.3 per cent).

The manufacturing industry had the greatest proportion of injuries at 16.4 per cent of accepted claims, followed by healthcare and social assistance (14.1 per cent) and construction (13.4 per cent).

The figures were detailed in the latest WorkCover Queensland annual report for 2016-17.

There were also 2347 new common law claims in 2016-17 – when an injured worker sues their employer for negligence – at a cost of $370 million.

Last year, 92.5 per cent of injured workers returned to work and net claims incurred were $1.26 billion.

The average cost of a statutory claim was $8620, while the average cost of a common law claim was $176,714.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said WorkCover had maintained the lowest average premium rate in Australia of $1.20 per $100 of wages for the third consecutive year.

Ms Grace said WorkCover delivered solid financial and operational results last year.

“WorkCover Queensland is Australia’s best workers’ compensation scheme, delivering the best possible return to work outcomes for over 66,000 injured workers at the lowest cost for more than 159,000 Queensland employers,” she said.

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This article was published on www.brisbanetimes.com.au; 02 October 3017

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