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Lifetime care and support options for people who suffer a catastrophic injury from a workplace incident are now on the table.

The federal government has released a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to canvass the cost benefit impact of the regulatory options of introducing a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).

The RIS includes the case for introducing minimum benchmarks, retaining existing workers compensation arrangements or harmonising workers compensation schemes.

“Under the minimum benchmarks all workers will be entitled to lifetime care and support regardless of their age, and workers will not need to navigate two schemes,” according to the RIS.

“The costs of the increased entitlements would be paid by employers through increased premiums under the minimum benchmarks. Per workplace, the increase in premiums would be modest and would reflect the increased funding necessary to provide lifetime care and support.”

Under the option of retaining the existing workers compensation arrangements, workers compensation premiums would not change. “[As] a result, the incentive for employers to address workplace safety is arguably reduced,” according to the RIS.

“Governments would fund the costs of topping up the care and support levels for those who are eligible for the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme]. Workers aged 65 and over at the time of their accident would be unable to have their gaps in coverage provided by the NDIS.”

The harmonisation option is referred to in the RIS as “extremely difficult”. “To the extent that jurisdictions are able to reach agreement it would likely result in a watered down scheme where fewer workers are eligible and where eligible workers are entitled to lower service levels than occur under some existing schemes,” according to the RIS.

For more details, visit the RIS.

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Hungry Jack’s has been fined $90,000 after one of its South Australian employees was severely burned and it failed to call an ambulance.

The young worker had been asked by his supervisor to filter cooking oil from deep-fryers using a mobile filter.

“During the process, the worker slipped and fell into the open top of the mobile filtration unit, which resulted in hot oil splashing onto him,” said SafeWork SA in a media statement.

“An ambulance was not called, despite the worker sustaining third-degree burns to more than 10 per cent of his body, including his right hand, forearm and right-side torso, requiring skin grafts.”

SafeWork SA prosecuted Hungry Jack’s in the Industrial Relations Court of SA under the former Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The charges included failing to provide safe plant, failing to maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide a procedure which ensured that employees received proper medical treatment.

Hungry Jack’s was fined $150,000, which was reduced to $90,000 plus costs following the company’s early guilty plea and contrition.

Hungry Jack’s had been prosecuted for a similar incident that occurred in July 2003.

“Since these incidents, Hungry Jack’s has reviewed its policies and procedures for oil filtering and will now install self-filtering deep-fryers in SA,” said SafeWork SA.

“The company has also committed to spend more than $5 million replacing existing fryers with self-filtering fryers nationally.”

For more details, visit SafeWork SA

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

Work-related traumatic injury fatalities are down, but vehicle incidents continue to play a significant role in these fatalities.

The latest report from Safe Work Australia reveals 191 workers died in 2013 compared to 228 in 2012. This is a 16 per cent decrease. It is also 39 per cent lower than the 311 deaths recorded in 2007.

Although most of the decrease from 2012 to 2013 was due to fewer workers killed in vehicle crashes on public roads, in 2013, 34 per cent of deaths were due to vehicle crashes.

In addition, 122 of the 191 fatalities in 2013 involved a vehicle.

However, it is notable that the work-related death toll due to vehicle crashes has halved from 130 in 2007 to 65 in 2013.

For more details, visit the traumatic fatalities report.

Published on 17 July 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Thirty per cent of workers’ deaths over the past decade have been due to truck-related incidents, says the latest Safe Work Australia report.

Between 2003 and 2012, 787 workers were killed in these incidents, according to the report, ‘Work-related fatalities involving trucks, Australia, 2003 to 2012’.

The report’s key findings state that 80 per cent of the incidents on public roads involved the death of the truck driver or passenger.

It also notes that 39 per cent of fatalities involved single-vehicle truck crashes while incidents that occurred while loading or unloading a vehicle accounted for 15 per cent of the fatalities, and repair and maintenance activities accounted for seven per cent.

Half of the truck-related fatalities occurred in the transport, postal and warehousing sector.

For more detail, visit the report.

Published on 22 May 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Labour-hire practices will be the target of a safety inspection program in Western Australia (WA) until June.

“Unfortunately, a number of serious injuries and some deaths have occurred over recent years involving workers employed under labour hire arrangements,” WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said.

“There is a pressing need for both host employers and labour hire agents to be very clear on their responsibilities regarding the safety and health of labour hire workers, in particular their training and supervision.”

Work health and safety inspectors will be visiting employers and labour-hire agencies in all industries and regions.

They will be looking at a range of factors, including the training and supervision of labour hire workers, hazard identification, risk assessment, risk control and consultation with labour hire workers and the labour hire agent.

For more details, visit WorkSafe in Western Australia.

Published on 30 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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