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QLD Announces WorkCover Premium Increases

Percentage Increases WorkcoverAverage WorkCover Premiums in Queensland will increase by 13% after June this year as part of a reform package announced by Premier Anna Bligh.

The good news is that the premium increases will not come with restrictions on access to common law compensation claims. It looks like the government has backed away from recommendations made by the WorkCover Queensland Board in November last year to restrict injured workers access to compensation through the courts.

There was considerable pressure on the government not to reduce compensation access at a time when workers were most at risk due to the impact of the overseas financial crisis on local trade and manufacturing.

WorkCover has advised that the reform package will include an increase in the average premium rate from $1.15 per $100 of wages paid to $1.30 in 2010-11.

Despite this increase QLD Employers will still be paying the lowest average premium of any state or territory in the nation. That may still change because the government did say they would review the situation in 2 years and if the costs of claims has continued to rise and outpace premiums then it will be forced to put through more increases or cut back on cover.

In a press release the Premier said “Our aim is to make sure every Queenslander returns home safely from work, each and every day. In the event of a workplace incident causing injury or death, we want to ensure there is a strong compensation scheme in place to support workers and their families”.

Our friends in Queensland should note that WorkCover and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will start auditing employers with a poor safety record and if there is a history of poor performance WorkCover has the power to raise their premiums above the cap.

Legislation required to implement the reform package is expected to be introduced into Parliament by mid 2010.

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About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

Comments (3)

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  1. This is exactly what Queensland needs. The more we monitor companies with poor safety records, the more we can reduce the amount of WorkCover insurance claims. If safety was taken more seriously maybe there would be a change of attitude with insurance companies and other departments that work with people pursuing compensation claims. The point is the most common injuries that are claimed for under Workers Compensation schemes are ones that could have been most easily prevented. PPE needs to be more readily available to workers and more affordable to business. If there could be a way urge the importance of safety in workplaces then Queensland may not need to consider a revise of the reform package any time soon.

  2. This is exactly what Queensland needs. The more we monitor companies with poor safety records, the more we can reduce the amount of WorkCover insurance claims. If safety was taken more seriously maybe there would be a change of attitude with insurance companies and other departments that work with people pursuing compensation claims. The point is the most common injuries that are claimed for under Workers Compensation schemes are ones that could have been most easily prevented. PPE needs to be more readily available to workers and more affordable to business. If there could be a way urge the importance of safety in workplaces then Queensland may not need to consider a revise of the reform package any time soon.www.workcovercompensation.com.au
    .

  3. The process for making a workplace injury claim is interesting. Whilst it is generally acknowledged that common injuries are the subject of claims, there is an elephant out there that seems to avoid discussion. In some workplaces, the workplace culture might be such that reporting specific types of injuries e.g. pyschosocial injuries such as bullying and harassment is seen as a career limiting move. Data can tell a range of stories about an organisation and at the same time, if the workplace culture is such that specific injuries are not being reported, even though general discussion in various forums and workplaces suggest that bullying/harassment is ‘rife’, further investigation might be warranted. Of course, if people are lodging ‘false’ claims, the reporting processes would be such that their conduct would be reported to the appropriate bodies. However, proving such allegations might be extremely difficult without supporting evidence. It might well be that there is a tsunami of claims that have not yet been made, simply because individuals want to protect their careers. Saying to someone “As a matter of interest, what do you have on next week” should not be classified as unreasonable management. However, given constraints that may have been placed on investigators, the ‘truth’ may not be discovered for a number of reasons. On a more positive note, it is good to see that even the Division of Workplace Health and Safety has numerous resources that can be used, particularly for public sector employees. The downside is that there should be no reason for public sector employees to not know about them and use them. Maybe some part of the system or process is not working?

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