Safe Work Australia recently launched the National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030, which sets an agenda to minimise the impact of work-related injury and illness and optimise workers’ recovery and capacity to work.
More than half a million Australians sustain a work-related injury or illness each year at an estimated cost of $61.8 billion, and Safe Work Australia said workers are at the heart of the strategy.
The rate of serious workers’ compensation claims has improved markedly over the last 10-15 years, with the serious claim frequency rate (serious claims per million hours worked) falling by 28 per cent between 2006-07 and 2015-16.
However, the typical duration of time spent off work for serious workers’ compensation claims has been increasing, up by 32 per cent from 4.4 weeks in 2006-07 to 5.8 weeks in 2015-16.
According to Safe Work Australia 2016-17 data, the proportion of serious workers’ compensation claims by nature/type of injury or illness are as follows:
“We want to help them recover and return to a safe and supportive workplace,” said Safe Work Australia CEO, Michelle Baxter.
“The strategy is built on a shared commitment to improve outcomes for workers and paves the way for ongoing national collaboration.”
The return to work process can be complex and involves a range of stakeholders, and Baxter said the strategy aims to better support workers through this process, and help stakeholders to do the same.
The strategy is aimed at those who influence work and workplaces including policy makers, workers’ compensation authorities, employers, union and industry groups, insurers and claims management organisations, treating health practitioners, workplace rehabilitation providers, and other worker advocates.