Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics. December 2010 PUTTING YOU FIRST

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1 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics December 2010 PUTTING YOU FIRST

2 Disclaimer This Compendium has been developed by Comcare and all attempts have been made to incorporate accurate information and data. The data included in the Compendium has been compiled during October and November This Compendium is supplied on the terms and understanding that Comcare and the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) are not responsible for the results of any action taken on the basis of information in this publication, nor for any error or omission from this publication. Comcare and the SRCC expressly disclaim all and any liability and responsibility to any person, in respect of anything, and the consequences of anything, done or omitted to be done, by any such person in reliance, whether wholly or partially, upon the whole or any part of this publication. Copyright Published by Comcare ABN Commonwealth of Australia 2010 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Australian Government available from the Commonwealth. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Commonwealth Copyright Administration, Attorney-General s Department, National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600 or posted at Contacts for further information To obtain further information about the contents of this report, contact: Comcare GPO Box 9905 CANBERRA ACT 2601 This publication is available on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission website at 2 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

3 Contents 1 Introduction 5 2 Highlights 6 3 Coverage SRC scheme OHS scheme 9 4 Scheme profile Industry classification Australian and ACT government premium payers by industry classification Licensed self-insurers by industry classification Employer size Location 14 5 Occupational health and safety Workers compensation claims Incidence of accepted claims Claims with one day time lost Claims with one week time lost Claims by injury and disease Claims by mechanism of incident Major claim drivers Body stressing Mental stress Claim characteristics Claims by mechanism of incident and gender Claims by age group (Australian Government premium payers) Accepted claims by MOI and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Average total cost of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Prevention targets Claims with one week time lost Deaths Notifications of OHS incidents Notification incidence rate Notifications by mechanism of incident 32 6 Claims management Process Claims summary Claims determined Claims acceptance rate Determinations Reconsiderations AAT reviews 43 7 Rehabilitation and return to work Claim duration Median time lost injury and disease Durable return to work rate Return to Work Monitor 51 8 Scheme expenditure Revenue Premiums Payments Claim payments by type Performance Funding ratio Outstanding liabilities 55 9 Glossary 56 PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 3

4 Tables and figures Figure 3.1 Comcare scheme Figure 3.2 SRC Act coverage 8 Figure 3.3 OHS Act coverage 9 Figure 4.1 SRC Act coverage by industry classification as at 30 June Table 4.1 Australian and ACT Government premium payers by industry as at 30 June Table 4.2 Licensed self-insurers by industry as at 30 June Table 4.3 SRC Act employers by size as at 30 June Table 4.4 Scheme FTE employees by location as at 30 June Figure 4.2 Scheme FTE employees by location as at 30 June Figure 5.1 Incidence of accepted claims 15 Figure 5.2 Frequency of claims with one day time lost 16 Figure 5.3 Incidence of claims with one week time lost 17 Figure 5.4 Claims by injury/disease (premium payers) 18 Figure 5.5 Claims by injury/disease (licensed self-insurers) 18 Figure 5.6 Claims by mechanism of incident Table 5.1 Claims by mechanism of incident (premium payers) 20 Figure 5.7 Incidence of body stressing claims 21 Figure 5.8 Average total cost* of body stressing claims (premium payers) 21 Figure 5.9 Body stressing claims by mechanism of incident Figure 5.10 Body stressing claims by occupation Figure 5.11 Incidence of mental stress claims 23 Figure 5.12 Average total cost* of mental stress claims (premium payers) 23 Figure 5.13 Mental stress claims by mechanism of incident Figure 5.14 Mental stress claims by occupation Figure 5.15 Claims by mechanism of incident and gender Figure 5.16 Estimated incidence of claims by age group (Australian Government premium payers) 26 Figure 5.17 Estimated incidence of claims by mechanism of incident and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.18 Average total cost* of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.19 Claims with one week time lost (premium payers and licensed self-insurers) 29 Table 5.2 Compensated deaths 30 Figure 5.20 Notifications incidence rate (scheme) 31 Table 5.3 Notifications by mechanism of incident (scheme) Figure 6.1 Comcare claim lodgement and determination process 37 Figure 6.2 Claim reconsideration and review process 38 Figure 6.3 Incidence of claims determined 39 Figure 6.4 Claims acceptance rate 40 Table 6.1 Average time (calendar days) to determine claims 41 Table 6.2 Requests for reconsiderations decided 42 Table 6.3 Outcome of applications to the AAT (premium payers)* 43 Table 6.4 Outcome of applications to the AAT (licensed self-insurers)* 44 Figure 7.1 Steps in the return to work process 45 Figure 7.2 Incidence of claims with time lost (premium payers) 46 Figure 7.3 Incidence of claims with time lost (licensed self-insurers) 46 Figure 7.4 Time lost-to-date to Table 7.1 Time lost-to-date 48 Figure 7.5 Median time lost (premium payers) 49 Figure 7.6 Median time lost (licensed self-insurers) 49 Figure 7.7 Durable return to work (RTW) rate 50 Table 7.2 Return to work performance 51 Table 8.1 Scheme revenue 52 Figure 8.1 Australian Government and ACT Government premium rates 53 Figure 8.2 Workers compensation expenditure 54 Figure 8.3 Workers compensation payments 54 Table 8.2 Comcare funding ratio 54 Table 8.3 Outstanding liabilities 56 4 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

5 1 Introduction Comcare s focus Comcare partners with workers, their employers and unions to keep workers healthy and safe, and reduce the incidence and cost of workplace injury and disease. There are three outcomes that guide Comcare: Outcome 1: The protection of the health, safety and welfare at work of workers covered by the Comcare scheme through education, assurance and enforcement. Outcome 2: An early and safe return to work and access to compensation for injured workers covered by the Comcare scheme through working in partnership with employers to create best practice in rehabilitation and quick and accurate management of workers compensation claims. Outcome 3: Access to compensation for people with asbestos-related diseases where the Commonwealth has a liability through the management of claims. We place workers at the centre of what we do to ensure they return safely to their families, friends and communities everyday. When workers are harmed, we help with recovery and support. We deliver a sustainable, fair, reliable and high-performing Comcare. Comcare was established as a statutory authority under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and reports to the Minister responsible for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations. Comcare is required to support the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) in exercising its functions. In exercising its functions, the SRCC is responsible for the scheme s regulatory framework including occupational health and safety (OHS), rehabilitation and workers compensation. Comcare administers both the Commonwealth s statutory framework for rehabilitation and workers compensation under the SRC Act, and its OHS framework under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act). The OHS Act prescribes employers and employees workplace health and safety responsibilities. Employers covered by the OHS Act pay an annual contribution for the regulatory, policy and advisory functions administered by Comcare. The SRC Act makes Commonwealth authorities and entities accountable for workers compensation injuries and diseases through the payment of annual premiums. Premium paying employers include Australian Government agencies and statutory authorities (excluding the Australian Defence Force) and the ACT Government. Under the SRC Act, certain Commonwealth authorities and eligible private corporations may apply for a licence to selfinsure. Licensed self-insurers meet the cost of their workers compensation liabilities and either manage their own workers compensation claims or have them managed by a third party claims manager. Licensed self-insurers are also covered by the OHS Act. Together, the two legislative Acts, the SRC Act and the OHS Act, are known as the Comcare scheme, which provides all scheme employers with an integrated safety, rehabilitation and compensation system, no matter what Australian state or territory an employer operates in or where its employees are located. Scheme performance information presented in this Compendium has been compiled from a variety of sources including workers compensation claims, OHS incident notifications, survey data and financial reports. Claims based data can be subject to development and performance information may therefore be updated when reported in future editions of this Compendium. PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 5

6 2 Highlights As at 30 June 2010, the Comcare scheme experienced: a 36 per cent reduction in the incidence of accepted claims since a 30 per cent reduction since in the frequency of claims with one day or more time lost from work a 36 per cent increase from 30 June 2006 in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees covered by the SRC Act a 43 per cent increase from 30 June 2006 in the number of FTE employees covered by the OHS Act an increase in the number of licensed self-insurers from 11 in 2006 to 29, and a greater diversity in the industries and occupational groups being regulated a 144 per cent increase from 30 June 2006 in the number of FTE employees in the licensed self-insurer sector covered by the OHS Act an 81 per cent durable return to work rate (Australian Government employers) the second highest in Australia and above the Australian average of 75 per cent (Australian and New Zealand Return to Work Monitor ) a premium rate of 1.25 per cent in (Australian Government employers), which represents a 29 per cent reduction since the lowest average standardised premium rate in Australia for (Comparative Performance Monitoring Report, December 2010) a positive funding ratio of 104 per cent as at 30 June Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

7 3 Coverage Figure 3.1 provides an overview of the Comcare scheme and shows the differences in coverage between the SRC Act and the OHS Act. The OHS Act covers premium payers, licensed self-insurers and the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Since 2004, ADF members, while covered by the OHS Act, are covered for workers compensation by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRC Act). The SRC Act covers Australian Government and ACT Government premium payers and licensed self-insurers. ACT Government employees are covered by separate ACT Government OHS legislation. Figure 3.1 Comcare scheme 2010 OHS Act Duties of care Australian Defence Force Licensed self-insurers Australian Government premium payers ACT Government premium Employer protects health and safety of its employees at work Employer protects health and safety of its employees at work Employer manages claims Comcare manages claims Employer meets liabilities Comcare meets liabilities Employer manages rehabilitation Employer manages rehabilitation Discharging of liabilities SRC Act PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 7

8 3.1 SRC scheme Figure 3.2 shows the number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees covered by the SRC Act between 30 June 2006 and 30 June The SRC scheme includes all Australian and ACT government premium payers and licensed self-insurers. In recent years the scheme has experienced considerable growth, largely attributable to a significant increase in the number of employers that have been granted a license to self-insure under the SRC Act. As at 30 June 2006 the scheme included 11 licensed self-insurers, increasing to 29 as at 30 June The fact that the scheme applies in every Australian state and territory is an attractive feature to national employers who would otherwise operate in up to eight different OHS and workers compensation jurisdictions. As at 30 June 2010, there were approximately FTE employees covered by the SRC Act from premium payers (including the ACT Government) and from licensed self-insurers. This represents a 36 per cent increase in the number of FTE employees covered by the SRC Act since 30 June Notably, since 30 June 2006, there has been an 85 per cent increase in the number of FTE employees of licensed self-insurers, which reflects the significant growth in this sector of the scheme. Consequently, as at 30 June 2010, licensed self-insurers accounted for around 44 per cent of total FTE employees covered by the SRC Act, up from 32 per cent at 30 June During the same period the number of FTE employees within premium payers increased by 13 per cent. Figure 3.2 SRC Act coverage Number of FTE employees ( 000) % 44% 44% 37% 32% 68% 63% 58% 56% 56% 0 30 Jun Jun 2007 Premium payers 30 Jun Jun Jun 2010 Licensed self-insurers 8 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

9 3.2 OHS scheme Figure 3.3 shows the total number of FTE employees covered by the OHS Act between 30 June 2006 and 30 June Employers covered by the OHS Act include the Australian Government premium payers, licensed self-insurers and the ADF. Employers covered by the OHS Act pay an annual contribution for the regulatory, policy and advisory functions administered by Comcare. As at 30 June 2010, approximately FTE employees were covered under the OHS Act. This coverage consisted of FTE employees from premium payers, from licensed self-insurers and from the ADF, representing a 43 per cent increase in the number of FTE employees covered since 30 June The significant increase in the number of FTE employees covered by the OHS Act is largely due to legislative changes and the increased number of licensed self-insurers covered by the scheme. Legislative amendments in March 2007 extended the coverage of the OHS Act to previously ineligible licensed self-insurers. Since 30 June 2006, the number of employees of licensed self-insurers covered by the OHS Act has increased by 144 per cent, increasing the proportion of the licensed selfinsured sector of the scheme from 23 per cent to 40 per cent. The increase in the number of licensed self-insurers covered by the OHS Act has also led to an increase in the diversity of occupations and risk profiles within the scheme. Section 4, Scheme profile, has further detail on this topic. Figure 3.3 OHS Act coverage 450 Number of FTE employees ( 000) % 23% 59% 15% 33% 52% 14% 38% 48% 14% 40% 46% 14% 40% 46% 0 30 Jun Jun Jun Jun Jun 2010 Premium payers Licensed self-insurers ADF PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 9

10 4 Scheme profile This section summarises the demographics of the scheme including the industry classification, employer size and geographical location of employers covered by the SRC Act. 4.1 Industry classification Figure 4.1 provides a breakdown of FTE employees covered under the SRC Act by ANZIC 1 industrial classification as at 30 June The data shows that approximately or 42 per cent of FTE employees were employed in the public administration and safety industry, (16 per cent) were employed in the financial and insurance services industry, (15 per cent) were employed in the transport, postal and warehousing industry and approximately (13 per cent) were employed in the information, media and telecommunications industry. The increase in the number of FTE employees covered by the SRC Act, particularly those from licensed self-insurers, has resulted in the scheme covering a more diverse range of industries than previously. This has altered the risk profile of the scheme. Figure 4.1 SRC Act coverage by industry classification as at 30 June 2010 Public administration and safety Financial and insurance services Transport, postal and warehousing Information media and telecommunications Professional, scientific and technical services Education and training Health care and social assistance Construction Electricity, gas, water and waste services Manufacturing Other industries Number of FTE employees ( 000) 1 ANZSIC 2006 Australian & New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 (cat no ) 10 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

11 4.1.1 Australian and ACT government premium payers by industry classification Table 4.1 provides a breakdown of Australian and ACT government premium payers by industry classification as at 30 June Of the 196 premium paying employers, 123 operated within the public administration and safety industry accounting for approximately FTE employees (74 per cent of premium payers). Public administration and safety covers the following sub-divisions: public administration (central government, state government, local government, justice and government representation) defence public order, safety and regulatory services. The remaining employees worked in a range of industries including: professional, scientific and technical services industry (six per cent) education and training (five per cent). Table 4.1 Australian and ACT Government premium payers by industry as at 30 June 2010 Industry Number of employers Total FTE employees % of total FTE employees Public administration and safety % Public administration % Defence* % Public order, safety and regulatory services % Professional, scientific and technical services % Education and training % Financial and insurance services % Health care and social assistance % Information media and telecommunications % Transport, postal and warehousing % All other industries % All industries % * This comprises Defence civilians and excludes ADF personnel who are not covered by the SRC Act. PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 11

12 4.1.2 Licensed self-insurers by industry classification Table 4.2 provides a breakdown of licensed self-insurers by industry classification as at 30 June Approximately 88 per cent of licensed self-insurer employees worked in three major industry divisions including: financial and insurance services (32 per cent) transport, postal and warehousing (31 per cent) information media and telecommunications (25 per cent). Table 4.2 Licensed self-insurers by industry as at 30 June 2010 Industry Number of employers Total FTE employees % of total FTE employees Financial and insurance services % Transport, postal and warehousing % Information media and telecommunications % Construction % Manufacturing % All other industries % All industries % 12 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

13 4.2 Employer size Table 4.3 provides a breakdown of employers covered by the SRC Act according to employer size (small, medium and large) as at 30 June Approximately 96 per cent of employees covered by the SRC Act worked for large employers consisting of 500 or more employees. Large employers represented approximately 38 per cent of the total number of employers in the scheme. While 41 per cent of premium payers were small employers (less than 100 employees) and 28 per cent were medium sized employers (100 to 499 employees), combined, these employed only seven per cent of all employees within premium payers. The remaining 93 per cent of employees work for large employers. Approximately 99 per cent of employees from licensed self-insurers worked for large employers. Table 4.3 SRC Act employers by size as at 30 June 2010 Employer size Small (less than 100 FTE employees) Medium (100 to 499 FTE employees) Large (500 or more FTE employees) All employers Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme Number % of total Number % of total Number % of total Employers FTE employees Less than 1 Employers FTE employees Employers FTE employees Employers FTE employees PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 13

14 4.3 Location Table 4.4 and Figure 4.2 show the geographic distribution of employees covered by the SRC Act across all Australian states and territories as at 30 June Comcare has offices in each capital city (except Hobart and Darwin) and in Newcastle to service the needs of the scheme. As at 30 June 2010, 28 per cent of employees covered by the SRC Act were employed in NSW, with approximately 24 per cent employed in Victoria. Approximately 21 per cent of employees were employed in the ACT; however this represents 36 per cent of all employees within premium payers. These figures reflect the presence of a large number of Australian Government entities based in Canberra. Table 4.4 Scheme FTE employees by location as at 30 June 2010 State Premium payers ( 000) Licensed self-insurers ( 000) Total ( 000) % of Total ( 000) NSW % Victoria % ACT % Queensland % SA % WA % Tasmania % NT % Total % Figure 4.2 Scheme FTE employees by location as at 30 June 2010 Comcare offices 1% 12% Brisbane 6% 6% Perth Adelaide 28% Newcastle 21% Sydney 24% Canberra Melbourne 2% 14 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

15 5 Occupational health and safety The data in this section is sourced from claims lodged under the SRC Act with Comcare and licensed self-insurers and those OHS incidents required to be notified by employers under the OHS Act. 5.1 Workers compensation claims Comcare maintains a data warehouse on behalf of the SRCC which contains unit claims data supplied by licensed selfinsurers and Comcare for all claims lodged under the SRC Act. The records incorporate occurrence details, incapacity determinations, claim payments, medical, rehabilitation and disputation data. While total claim costs and estimates of outstanding liability are available for claims managed by Comcare, only actual claim payments are recorded for all claims managed by licensed self-insurers. Accordingly, it is not possible to report aggregate scheme data relating to total claims costs within this Compendium Incidence of accepted claims Figure 5.1 shows the incidence of claims accepted during the period to for premium payers, licensed selfinsurers and for the overall scheme. There has been a reduction of approximately 36 per cent in the incidence of claims accepted across the scheme since In the same period, the incidence of claims accepted by licensed self-insurers has remained approximately double that of the premium payers. In , licensed self-insurers accepted approximately 35 claims per 1000 FTE employees, compared to approximately 15 claims per 1000 FTE employees for premium payers. Significant reductions in the incidence of claims for both premium payers and licensed self-insurers occurred during This was, in part, attributable to changes to the SRC Act in April The changes removed workers compensation coverage for non-work related journeys and recess breaks and strengthened the required relationship with work for a disease claim to be compensable. Figure 5.1 Incidence of accepted claims 70 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 15

16 5.1.2 Claims with one day time lost Figure 5.2 shows the frequency of claims (excluding commuting claims) that first reached one day time lost during the period to In , the scheme recorded 6.5 claims with one day time lost per million hours worked a 30 per cent reduction since The higher frequency rate recorded by licensed self-insurers reflects, in part, differences in risk profile between premium payers and licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.2 Frequency of claims with one day time lost 14 Claims per million hours worked Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme 16 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

17 5.1.3 Claims with one week time lost Figure 5.3 shows the incidence of claims (excluding commuting claims) that first reached one week time lost during the period to Workers compensation claims vary in severity, including claims for medical treatment only, as well as claims involving extended time lost from work. The data shows that since , the incidence of claims that reached one week time lost decreased by 34 per cent for premium payers and by 12 per cent for licensed self-insurers. However, despite ongoing reductions being reported by the scheme between and , the scheme has not sustained this performance in either or This was due to an increase in the incidence of claims recorded by both premium payers and licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.3 Incidence of claims with one week time lost 14 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 17

18 5.1.4 Claims by injury and disease Figures 5.4 and 5.5 show the incidence of claims accepted during the period to by injury and disease for premium payers and licensed self-insurers. A work-related injury is generally the result of a single traumatic event whilst a work-related disease usually results from repeated or long-term exposure to an agent or event. A decrease in the incidence of both accepted injury and disease claims was observed between and The most substantial reductions occurred in , which can be attributed, in part, to legislative changes implemented in April 2007 (see Section 5.1.1). Since , there has been a general increase in the proportion of accepted disease claims for both premium payers and licensed self-insurers. However substantial differences were observed in the proportion of injury and disease claims between premium payers and licensed self-insurers. This can be attributed, in part, to the different risk profiles of each sector. Figure 5.4 Claims by injury/disease (premium payers) 35 Claims per 1000 FTE employees % 66% 39% 61% 36% 64% 50% 50% 47% 53% Injury Disease Figure 5.5 Claims by injury/disease (licensed self-insurers) 70 Claims per 1000 FTE employees % 82% 16% 84% 22% 78% 20% 80% 23% 77% Injury Disease 18 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

19 5.1.5 Claims by mechanism of incident Figure 5.6 shows the percentage of claims by mechanism of incident for claims accepted during for both premium payers and licensed self-insurers. The mechanism of incident identifies the overall action, exposure or event that best describes the circumstances that resulted in the most serious injury or disease. Body stressing was the most prevalent mechanism of incident over the reporting period. During around half of all accepted claims for both premium payers and licensed self-insurers were due to body stressing. Falls, trips and slips also represented a significant proportion of claims, accounting for 19 per cent of premium payers claims and 16 per cent of licensed self-insurers claims. Being hit by moving objects accounted for eight per cent of premium payers and 12 per cent of licensed self-insurers claims. Mental stress was a significant cause of claims for premium payers, accounting for 10 per cent of claims, compared to two per cent of claims for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.6 Claims by mechanism of incident Percentage of accepted claims 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 49% 44% Body Stressing 19% 16% Falls, trips and slips 10% 2% Mental stress 12% 8% Hit by moving objects 4% Hitting objects with body Premium payers Licensed self-insurers 8% 4% 13% Vehicle incidents and other 8% 6% All other PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 19

20 5.2 Major claim drivers Table 5.1 shows claims accepted during the period to It also shows a breakdown of total cost* by mechanism of incident. The data covers premium payers only. During the period to , body stressing injuries/diseases accounted for approximately 43 per cent of all claims for premium payers and 35 per cent of total cost with an average total cost per claim of approximately $35K. During body stressing injuries/diseases represented 49 per cent of claims and 41 per cent of total cost, with an average total cost per claim of approximately $53K. Between and mental stress claims accounted for nine per cent of all claims, however these claims represented 36 per cent of total cost, with an average total cost per claim of approximately $176K. During , mental stress claims accounted for 10 per cent of all claims and 30 per cent of total claim costs, with an average total cost per claim of $199K. It should be noted that at this time the average total cost per claim is an estimate which may change as the claims mature. While not shown in this table, the effect of the removal of coverage for non-work related journeys in April 2007 reduced the incidence of vehicle incidents within the scheme. Vehicle incidents and other accounted for four per cent of claims from premium payers during Table 5.1 Claims by mechanism of incident (premium payers) Mechanism of incident % of all accepted claims to % of total claim costs* Average total cost per claim ($) Body stressing 43% 35% Falls, trips and slips of a person 21% 13% Vehicle incidents and other 10% 7% Mental stress 9% 36% Hit by moving objects 8% 5% Hitting objects with the body 5% 1% Chemicals and other substances 2% 1% Sound and pressure 1% 1% Heat, radiation and electricity 1% Less than 1% Biological factors Less than 1% Less than 1% All mechanisms of incident 100% 100% Body stressing 49% 41% Falls, trips and slips of a person 19% 15% Vehicle incidents and other 4% 4% Mental stress 10% 30% Hit by moving objects 8% 4% Hitting objects with the body 4% 2% Chemicals and other substances 2% 2% Sound and pressure 2% 1% Heat, radiation and electricity 1% Less than 1% Biological factors 1% 1% All mechanisms of incident 100% 100% * Total cost is the cost to date plus estimated outstanding liability 20 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

21 5.2.1 Body stressing Figure 5.7 shows the incidence of body stressing claims accepted during the period to The data shows that the incidence of these claims across the scheme declined during the period through , with the claims incidence being considerably lower for premium payers than for licensed self-insurers. The most recent data suggests further reductions may become more difficult to achieve. Figure 5.7 Incidence of body stressing claims 25 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme Figure 5.8 shows that since , despite an increase in the average total cost* of accepted body stressing claims, the average total cost of these claims remained below that of all other claims. The increase in the average total cost of body stressing claims, shown in Figure 5.6, may be due to the increased complexity of body stressing claims. Latest estimates indicate that the average total cost of body stressing claims is approximately $39K per claim. The data below covers premium payers only as total claim costs are not available for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.8 Average total cost* of body stressing claims (premium payers) 80 Average total claim cost* $( 000) Body stressing All claims (excl. body stressing) * Total cost is the cost to date plus estimated outstanding liability PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 21

22 Figure 5.9 shows a breakdown of body stressing claims accepted during for both premium payers (1568 claims) and licensed self-insurers (2490 claims). Significant differences in the mechanism of incident sub-groups for body stressing claims between premium payers and licensed self-insurers are apparent. Approximately 46 per cent of body stressing claims for premium payers were due to repetitive movement with low muscle loading, with a further 24 per cent due to muscular stress with while lifting, carrying or putting down objects. Repetitive movement with low muscle loading was less significant for licensed self-insurers, with only 13 per cent of body stressing claims attributed to this cause. The predominant cause of body stressing claims for licensed self-insurers was muscular stress while handling objects (other than lifting, carrying or putting down) and muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects, which accounted for 37 per cent and 36 per cent respectively of all body stressing claims for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.9 Body stressing claims by mechanism of incident Muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects 1258 Muscular stress while handling objects 1115 Repetitive movement, low muscle loading 1038 Muscular stress with no objects being handled Claims Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Figure 5.10 shows a breakdown of body stressing claims accepted during by occupation group. Clerical and administration workers accounted for the largest number of body stressing claims (approximately 47 per cent of all body stressing claims across the scheme). Licensed self-insurers also recorded a significant number of body stressing claims in the machinery operators and drivers and technicians and trade workers occupational groups. Figure 5.10 Body stressing claims by occupation Clerical and administration 1913 Machinery operators/drivers 820 Technicians/trade workers 476 Community/personal service Labourers Professionals Managers Sales workers Claims Premium payers Licensed self-insurers 22 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

23 5.2.2 Mental stress Figure 5.11 shows the incidence of mental stress claims accepted during the period to Since the incidence of mental stress claims across the scheme has declined. The significant reduction during can, in part, be attributed to changes to the SRC Act introduced in April 2007, which strengthened the required connection between a disease and the claimant s employment for a claim to be accepted. The incidence of mental stress claims has been consistently lower for licensed self-insurers than for premium payers in the scheme. Figure 5.11 Incidence of mental stress claims 3.0 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Scheme Figure 5.12 shows that, despite the reduction in the incidence of accepted mental stress claims for the scheme, the average total cost* of these claims remained high compared to all other claims. Latest estimates indicate that the average total cost of mental stress claims was approximately $180K. The data below covers premium payers only as total claim costs are not available for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.12 Average total cost* of mental stress claims (premium payers) Average total claim cost* $( 000) Mental stress All claims (excl. mental stress) * Average total cost is the cost to date plus estimated outstanding liability PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 23

24 Figure 5.13 shows a breakdown of the number of mental stress claims accepted during for both premium payers (312 claims in total) and licensed self-insurers (89 claims in total). This figure shows the significant differences in the mechanism of incident sub-groups for mental stress claims between premium payers and licensed self-insurers. For premium payers, the most significant sub-groups for mental stress claims were work related harassment and/or bullying (45 per cent of claims) followed by work pressure (43 per cent of claims). For licensed self-insurers, the most significant sub-groups were exposure to traumatic event (31 per cent of claims) and exposure to workplace and/or occupational violence (24 per cent of claims). The variability in the distribution of claims within the sub-groups illustrates, in part, the differences in risk profile between premium payers and licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.13 Mental stress claims by mechanism of incident Work related harassment and/or bullying 155 Work press 152 Exposure to traumatic event 43 Exposure to workplace or occupational violence 39 Other mental stress factors Claims Premium payers Licensed self-insurers Figure 5.14 shows the number of mental stress claims accepted during by occupation group. The largest number of claims for premium payers was for employees classified as clerical and administration workers followed by professionals, community and personal service workers and managers. The largest number of mental stress claims for licensed self-insurers was also for clerical and administration workers with the second highest groups being machinery operators and drivers and community and personal service workers. Figure 5.14 Mental stress claims by occupation Clerical and administration 240 Machinery operators/drivers Technicians/trade workers Community/personal service Labourers Professionals Managers Sales workers Premium payers Claims Licensed self-insurers 24 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

25 5.3 Claim characteristics Claims by mechanism of incident and gender Figure 5.15 shows the percentage distribution of claims accepted during by mechanism of incident and gender. For both premium payers and licensed self-insurers, males accounted for the majority of claims related to hitting objects with the body and hit by moving objects. For premium payers, females accounted for the majority of claims related to mental stress, body stressing and falls, trips and slips. Significantly, for premium payers, males accounted for approximately 41 per cent of all claims related to falls, trips and slips and body stressing, while for licensed self-insurers, males accounted for approximately 76 per cent of claims related to falls, trips and slips and body stressing. The data presented in Figure 5.14 is based on actual claim numbers and does not take into account the relative proportion of male and female workers employed by premium payers and licensed self-insurers. In general, there are a greater proportion of males employed within licensed self-insurers than within premium payers. Note: The category all other mechanisms of incident includes biological factors, sound and pressure, heat, electricity and other environmental factors and chemicals and other substances. Figure 5.15 Claims by mechanism of incident and gender Hitting objects with the body Hit by moving objects Vehicle incidents and other Falls, trips and slips Body stressing Mental stress All other mechanisms of incident % 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Premium payers, male Premium payers, female Licensed self-insurers, male Licensed self-insurers, female PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 25

26 5.3.2 Claims by age group (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.16 shows the estimated incidence of claims accepted during the period to by age group. The data covers claims for Australian Government premium payers only as age distribution data is not available for licensed self-insurers. The incidence rates shown below were estimated using age distribution data for the Australian Public Service 2 which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of workers employed within premium payers. The ACT Government has been excluded as age related data is unavailable and it is not included as part of the Australian Public Service. The data shows an overall reduction in the incidence of claims for all age groups during the period to , with the exception of the over 55 age group. Since , there has been a direct relationship observed between age and the incidence of claims, with successively older age groups evidencing higher claims incidence rates. If this pattern were to continue, this would represent a significant policy issue given the ageing workforce. Figure 5.16 Estimated incidence of claims by age group (Australian Government premium payers) Claims per 1000 FTE employees Under and over 2 Australian Public Service Commission, State of the Service Report Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

27 5.3.3 Claims by mechanism of incident and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.17 shows the estimated incidence of claims accepted during by mechanism of incident and age group. The data covers claims for Australian Government premium payers only as age distribution data is not available for licensed self-insurers. The incidence rates shown below were estimated using age distribution data for the Australian Public Service 3 which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of workers employed within premium payers. The ACT Government has been excluded as age related data is unavailable and it is not included as part of the Australian Public Service. The data shows that the incidence of claims for body stressing peaks for those workers aged 45 and over. The incidence of claims for falls, trips and slips increases by age, with the over 55 age group having the highest incidence of claims in this category. Meanwhile, workers in the under 25 age group had the highest incidence of claims for the vehicle incidents and other category. Figure 5.17 Estimated incidence of claims by mechanism of incident and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Claims per 1000 FTE employees Body stressing Falls, trips and slips Hitting object with body Vehicle incidents and other Hit by moving objects Mental stress All other Under and over Average 3 Australian Public Service Commission, State of the Service Report PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 27

28 5.3.4 Average total cost of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.18 shows the average total cost* of claims accepted during by age group. The data covers claims for Australian Government premium payers only as age distribution data is not available for licensed self-insurers. The incidence rates shown below were estimated using age distribution data for the Australian Public Service 4 which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of workers employed within premium payers. The ACT Government has been excluded as age related data is unavailable and it is not included as part of the Australian Public Service. The data indicates that the age groups and years have the highest average total cost of claims. Figure 5.18 Average total cost* of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Average total claim cost* $( 000) Under and over Average of all claims * Total cost is the cost to date plus estimated outstanding liability 4 Australian Public Service Commission, State of the Service Report Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

29 5.4 Prevention targets The Comcare scheme has a safety focus and regulatory philosophy that seeks to work with employers and their employees to prevent injuries in the workplace. The National OHS Strategy , endorsed by the Workplace Relations Ministers Council, outlines two national targets designed to create safer workplaces in Australia. The first target seeks a reduction in the incidence of work-related deaths, with a reduction of at least 20 per cent by 30 June The second national target seeks to reduce the incidence of workplace injury by at least 40 per cent by 30 June The SRCC adopted the national targets but went further by extending the injury target to include work-related disease and established an aspirational zero target for work-related injury deaths Claims with one week time lost Figure 5.3 shows the incidence of claims (excluding commuting claims) that first reached one week time lost during the period to (premium payers and licensed self-insurers). The table also shows the ten-year scheme target. While the scheme s performance was 8.8 claims per 1000 FTE employees a 28 per cent improvement since , it was above the required target of 8.2 claims per 1000 FTE employees. To have achieved this target, a 32 per cent reduction since was required by 30 June Figure 5.19 Claims with one week time lost (premium payers and licensed self-insurers) Claims per 1000 FTE employees Result Target PUTTING YOU FIRST Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics 29

30 5.4.2 Deaths The number of deaths reported in Table 5.2 is based on accepted claims lodged under the SRC Act (i.e. compensated deaths). The number of compensated deaths reported may not correlate with the number of notified deaths in each year. This is due to the different statutory definitions which apply to compensated deaths (claims under the SRC Act) compared to notifiable deaths (notified under the OHS Act). For example, incidents resulting in bystander deaths are included as notifiable deaths under the OHS Act, whereas compensated deaths only relate to employees under the SRC Act. Thirteen injury death claims were accepted by the scheme during The Commission s aspirational target of zero injury deaths was therefore not achieved. Six injury death claims were reported by premium payers and seven injury death claims were reported by licensed self-insurers. Four of these claims were the result of work-related transport accidents. The scheme has failed to meet the zero injury death target each year since its introduction in and it is likely that this target will remain difficult to achieve in future. While not contributing to performance against the scheme target, nine disease death claims were also reported by the scheme in These nine death claims were reported by premium payers, with seven of these claims due to asbestos-related diseases. Table 5.2 Compensated deaths Premium payers Injury Disease Commuting Licensed self-insurers Injury Disease Commuting Total Injury Disease Commuting Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

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