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A new work capacity certificate is being developed in Queensland in response to stakeholder consultation.

The new certificate will focus on what work can be done after injury, supporting early and safe rehabilitation and return to work, and encouraging return-to-work discussions as early as possible.

The Office of Industrial Relations has almost completed its consultation with stakeholder focus groups and peak representative associations and consideration of survey responses and written submissions about the fit note.

The new certificate is expected to start being available in July, with full implementation by January 2017.

“To ensure the success of this transition, a website dedicated to doctors will be developed to support their education needs,” according to a Queensland Government media release.

For more details, visit WorkCover Qld

Published on 25 February 2016 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

Employers have been barred from obtaining the workers compensation claims history of prospective employees, among a number of changes under new laws passed in the Queensland parliament last week.

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 prevents employers obtaining a copy of a prospective worker’s compensation claims history from the Workers’ Compensation Regulator.

In other changes, the new laws allow workers with than less than 5 per cent impairment to seek workers compensation damages under common law.

The new provisions also permit workers prevented from making damages claims between October 15, 2013 and January 31, 2015 to seek additional compensation payouts.

Meanwhile, firefighters diagnosed with a deemed disease will have their injury automatically deemed a work injury under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation (Protecting Firefighters) Amendment Bill 2015. This law also passed in the Queensland parliament last week.

The deemed diseases include the following cancers: brain, bladder, kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukaemia, breast, testicular, prostate, ureter, colorectal, oesophageal and multiple myeloma.

For more details, visit the laws

Published on 24 September 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Around 34 construction workers are seriously injured each day, according to the latest injury and fatality figures from Safe Work Australia.

Some 12,300 employees made a workers compensation claim requiring one or more weeks off work in 2012–13, according to ‘Work-Related Injuries and Fatalities in Construction, Australia, 2003 to 2013’.

These preliminary workers compensation figures equate to 34 workers seriously injured per day.

The median cost of these preliminary claims and time spent off work are not available as “some claims remain open and the time lost and associated payments can increase”, the report says.

Nevertheless, in the previous year, 12,600 employees made a workers compensation claim requiring one or more weeks off work, according to the report.

During this time, a seriously injured construction worker typically had 6.4 working weeks off work and received a median compensation payment of $11,000, the report adds.

For more details, visit the figures

Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

Some workers compensation benefits in NSW will be restored, WorkCover NSW split up and the Dust Diseases Board changed in proposals announced by the NSW Coalition government.

The changes are part the NSW Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015.

The NSW Government is restoring some of the workers compensation benefits removed in 2012, now that the scheme is in the black.

Changes to medical benefits payments are among amendments. For those with up to 10 per cent permanent impairment, medical benefits will be provided for two years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 11 to 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for five years from when weekly payments stop (or from the date of injury if no weekly payments were made). Those with 20 per cent impairment will receive benefits for life.

Among other changes, workers’ weekly payments will be paid for up to 12 months past retirement age.

Employers’ workers compensation premiums will also be discounted by between 5 and 20 per cent for employers who maintain safe work places and help injured employees return to work.

The reforms also see WorkCover NSW split into three entities: SafeWork NSW will be the work health and safety regulator; Insurance & Care NSW (icare) will deliver insurance and care services; and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) will oversee all state insurance schemes.

Also, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority. “As part of the broader insurance reform package, the Dust Diseases Board will become the Dust Diseases Authority, with all existing functions, expertise and staff retained,” said Dominic Perrottet, NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, in a media release.

“The Board of the Dust Diseases Board will become an Advisory Committee, providing expert advice to the new Insurance and Care entity.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW and the workers compensation changes

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

The preliminary findings of a NSW Government workers compensation survey reveal a lack of support for workers.

The findings are part of a survey of injured workers’ experiences in the NSW workers compensation system.

A lack of case management support and access to quality information are the main problems, said NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet in a media statement.

“While some injured workers have had positive experiences, we can see many are concerned about better information and timely communication, financial support for medical services and retraining, and being supported by their employer and insurer,” Perrottet said.

The full results of the survey will be released in August.

For more details, visit the Minister’s statement and the government’s ‘what workers think’ video

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.


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