Compendium of WHS and Workers Compensation Statistics. December 2012 PUTTING YOU FIRST

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1 Compendium of WHS and Workers Compensation Statistics December 2012 PUTTING YOU FIRST

2 Disclaimer This information is for guidance only and is not to be taken as an expression of the law. It should be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation. For more information contact your local workplace health and safety authority. Publication details Published by Comcare Commonwealth of Australia 2012 All material presented in this publication is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia ( licence. For the avoidance of doubt, this means this licence only applies to material as set out in this document. The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence ( Use of the Coat of Arms The terms under which the Coat of Arms can be used are detailed on the It s an Honour website ( Contact us Inquiries regarding the licence and any use of this document are welcome at: Production Services Comcare GPO Box 9905 Canberra ACT 2601 Ph: Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

3 Contents 1 Introduction 5 2 Highlights 6 3 Coverage SRC scheme WHS scheme 9 4 Scheme profile Industry Australian and ACT government premium payers by industry Licensed self-insurers by industry classification Employer size Location 14 5 Work 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) Claims by mechanism of incident and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Average estimated total cost of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Prevention targets Claims with one week time lost Deaths Notifications of WHS 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 40 7 Rehabilitation and Return-to-Work Claim duration Median lost time injury and disease Durable return-to-work rate 47 8 Scheme revenue and expenditure Revenue Premiums Payments Claim payments by type Performance Outstanding claims liabilities Funding ratio 51 9 Glossary/definitions 52 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 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 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 Initially accepted in Figure 5.10 Body stressing claims by occupation Initially accepted in 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 Initially accepted in Figure 5.14 Mental stress claims by occupation Initially accepted in Figure 5.15 Claims by mechanism of incident initially accepted in (Males) 25 Figure 5.16 Claims by mechanism of incident initially accepted in (Females) 25 Figure 5.17 Estimated incidence of claims by age group (Australian Government premium payers) 26 Figure 5.18 Estimated incidence of claims with one week time lost by mechanism of incident and age group (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.19 Average estimated total cost* of claims by age (Australian Government premium payers) Figure 5.20 Claims with one week time lost (Australian Government premium payers and licensed self-insurers) 29 Table 5.2 Compensated deaths (Australian Government premium payers and licensed self-insurers) 30 Figure 5.21 Notifications incidence rate (scheme) 31 Table 5.3 Notifications by mechanism of incident (scheme) Figure 6.1 Comcare claim lodgement and determination process 34 Figure 6.2 Claim reconsideration and review process 35 Figure 6.3 Incidence of claims received and determined 36 Figure 6.4 Claims acceptance rate 37 Table 6.1 Average time (calendar days) to determine claims 38 Table 6.2 Requests for reconsiderations decided 39 Table 6.3 Outcome of applications to the AAT (premium payers)* 40 Table 6.4 Outcome of applications to the AAT (licensed self-insurers)* 41 Figure 7.1 Steps in the return-to-work process 42 Figure 7.2 Lost time-to-date survival to Figure 7.3 Incidence of claims with one week or more lost time (premium payers) 44 Figure 7.4 Incidence of claims with one week or more lost time (licensed self-insurers) 44 Table 7.1 Lost time-to-date 45 Figure 7.5 Median lost time (premium payers) 46 Figure 7.6 Median lost time (licensed self-insurers) 46 Figure 7.7 Durable return-to-work (RTW) rate 47 Table 8.1 Scheme revenue 48 Figure 8.1 Australian Government and ACT Government premium rates (including GST) 49 Figure 8.2 Workers compensation expenditure 50 Figure 8.3 Workers compensation payments 50 Table 8.2 Outstanding claims liabilities (premium funded scheme) 51 Table 8.3 Comcare funding ratio 51 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 every day. 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 responsible Minister. Comcare is required to support the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) in exercising its functions. The SRCC is responsible for the scheme s regulatory framework including rehabilitation and workers compensation. Comcare administers both the Commonwealth s statutory framework for rehabilitation and workers compensation under the SRC Act, and its WHS framework under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act). The OHS Act was superseded on January by the Work Health Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). The WHS Act prescribes employers and employees workplace health and safety responsibilities. Employers covered by the WHS 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 WHS Act. Together, the two legislative Acts, the SRC Act and the WHS 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, WHS 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 2012, the Comcare scheme experienced: a 3 per cent reduction in the incidence of accepted claims since a 8 per cent increase from 30 June 2008 in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees covered by the SRC Act a 7 per cent increase from 30 June 2008 in the number of FTE employees covered by the WHS Act an 85 per cent durable return-to-work rate (Australian Government employers) above the Australian average of 75 per cent (Australian and New Zealand Return to Work Monitor ) an overall premium rate of 1.41 per cent in (Australian Government employers) the lowest average standardised premium rate in Australia for (Comparative Performance Monitoring Report, Fourteenth Edition, October 2012). 6 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 WHS Act. The WHS Act covers premium payers, licensed self-insurers and the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Since 2004, ADF members, while covered by the WHS 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 WHS legislation. Figure 3.1 Comcare scheme 2012 Commonwealth safety, rehabilitation and compensation scheme SEACARE AUTHORITY OHS(MI) Act Seafarers Act WHS Act Comcare regulator Duties of care ARC Act Australian Defence Force Licensed self-insurers Australian Government premium payers ACT Government premium MRC Act DVA manages claims* DVA meets liabilities Defence manages rehabilitation * Pre 2004 injuries determined under the SRC Act Employer protects health and safety of its employees at work Employer manages claims Employer meets liabilities Employer manages rehabilitation Employer protects health and safety of its employees at work Comcare delivers recovery and support services Comcare meets liabilities Employer manages rehabilitation Discharging of liabilities SRC Act SRCC/Comcare Co-regulators 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 2008 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 2007 the scheme included 17 licensed self insurers, increasing to 30 as at 30 June As at 30 June 2012, there were approximately FTE employees covered by the SRC Act from premium payers (including the ACT Government) and from licensed self-insurers. This represents an 8 per cent increase in the number of FTE employees covered by the SRC Act since 30 June As at 30 June 2012, licensed self-insurers accounted for around 43 per cent of total FTE employees covered by the SRC Act. Figure 3.2 SRC Act coverage Number of FTE employees ( 000) % 44% 44% 44% 57% 56% 56% 56% 43% 57% As at 30 June Premium payers Licensed self-insurers 8 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

9 3.2 WHS scheme Figure 3.3 shows the total number of FTE employees covered by the OHS & WHS Acts between 30 June 2008 and 30 June Employers covered by the OHS & WHS Acts include the Australian Government premium payers, licensed self-insurers and the ADF. Employers covered by the OHS & WHS Acts pay an annual contribution for the regulatory, policy and advisory functions administered by Comcare. As at 30 June 2012, approximately FTE employees were covered under the OHS & WHS Acts. This coverage consisted of FTE employees from premium payers, from licensed self-insurers and from the ADF, representing a 7 per cent increase in the number of FTE employees covered since 30 June Figure 3.3 OHS Act coverage 450 Number of FTE employees ( 000) % 39% 48% 14% 38% 48% 14% 40% 46% 14% 40% 46% 14% 39% 47% Premium payers As at 30 June 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 Figure 4.1 provides a breakdown of FTE employees covered under the SRC Act by ANZSIC 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, (14 per cent) were employed in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry and approximately (12 per cent) were employed in 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 as at 30 June 2012 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 ( ABS 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 Table 4.1 provides a breakdown of Australian and ACT Government premium payers by industry as at 30 June Of the 205 premium paying employers, 128 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 (eight per cent) education and training (five per cent). Table 4.1 Australian and ACT Government premium payers by industry as at 30 June 2012 Industry Number of employers Total FTE employees % of total FTE employees Public administration and safety ,000 74% Public administration ,000 61% Defence* 2 22,000 10% Public order, safety and regulatory services 3 7,000 3% Professional, scientific and technical services % Education and training % Health care and social assistance % Financial and insurance services % 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 87 per cent of licensed self-insurer employees worked in three major industry divisions including: financial and insurance services (35 per cent) transport, postal and warehousing (29 per cent) information media and telecommunications (23 per cent). Table 4.2 Licensed self-insurers by industry as at 30 June 2012 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 95 per cent of employees covered by the SRC Act worked for large employers consisting of 500 or more employees. Large employers represented approximately 40 per cent of the total number of employers in the scheme. While 36 per cent of premium payers were small employers (less than 100 employees) and 32 per cent were medium sized employers (100 to 499 employees), combined, these employed only eight per cent of all employees within premium payers. The remaining 92 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 2012 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 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 shows 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 in Newcastle to service the needs of the scheme. Comcare officers travel to worksites across Australia and internationally as required. As at 30 June 2012, 29 per cent of employees covered by the SRC Act were employed in NSW, with approximately 23 per cent employed in Victoria. Approximately 22 per cent of employees were employed in the ACT; however this represents 38 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 2012 State Premium payers ( 000) Licensed self-insurers ( 000) Total ( 000) % of Total NSW % Victoria % ACT % Queensland % SA % WA % Tasmania % NT % Total % 14 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

15 5 Work 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 WHS incidents required to be notified by employers under the OHS & WHS Acts. 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 self-insurers and for the overall scheme. There has been a reduction of approximately 3 per cent in the incidence of claims accepted across the scheme since In the most recent period, the incidence of claims accepted by licensed self-insurers is approximately double that of the premium payers. In , licensed self-insurers accepted approximately 30 claims per 1000 FTE employees, compared to approximately 15 claims per 1000 FTE employees for premium payers. Figure 5.1 Incidence of accepted claims 70 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Year of Initial Determination 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 6.2 claims with one day time lost per million hours worked a slight 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 Year claim reached 1 day incapacity 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 rate of claims (excluding commuting claims) that first reached one week time lost during the period to Since , the incidence rate of claims that reached one week time lost increased by 9 per cent for premium payers and by 26 per cent for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.3 Incidence of claims with one week time lost 14 Claims per 1000 FTE employees Year claim reached 1 week incapacity 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. The scheme has observed a decrease in the incidence of Injury claims between and In the same period, there has been a general increase in the incidence of Disease claims. 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) Claims per 1000 FTE employees % 64% 50% 50% 48% 52% 46% 46% 47% 53% Year of Initial Determination Injury Disease Figure 5.5 Claims by injury/disease (licensed self-insurers) 70 Claims per 1000 FTE employees % 78% 19% 80% 22% 78% 32% 68% 35% 65% Year of Initial Determination 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 20 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 11 per cent of claims, compared to 2 per cent of claims for licensed self-insurers. Figure 5.6 Claims by mechanism of incident Percentage of accepted claims 50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 47% 46% Body Stressing 20% 16% Falls, trips and slips 11% 2% Mental stress 12% 8% Hit by moving objects Hitting objects with body Premium payers Licensed self-insurers 5% 7% 4% 13% Vehicle incidents and other 6% 5% All other Mechanism of Incident 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 47 per cent of all claims for premium payers and 39 per cent of total cost with an average total cost per claim of approximately $ During body stressing injuries/diseases represented 45 per cent of claims and 39 per cent of total cost, with an average total cost per claim of approximately $ Between and mental stress claims accounted for 11 per cent of all claims, however these claims represented 35 per cent of total cost, with an average total cost per claim of approximately $ During , mental stress claims accounted for 11 per cent of all claims and 32 per cent of total claim costs, with an average total cost per claim of $ It should be noted that at this time the average total cost per claim is an estimate which may change as the claims mature. Table 5.1 Claims by mechanism of incident (premium payers) Mechanism of incident % of all accepted claims to ** % of total claim costs* Average estimated total cost per claim ($) Body stressing 47% 39% Falls, trips & slips 19% 12% Mental stress 11% 35% Hit by moving objects 8% 4% Vehicle incidents and other 5% 2% Hitting objects with the body 5% 4% Chemicals and other substances 2% 1% Sound and pressure 2% 2% Heat, radiation and electricity 1% 0% Biological factors Less than 1% Less than 1% All mechanisms of incident 100% 100% ** Body stressing 45% 39% Falls, trips & slips 23% 15% Mental stress 11% 32% Hit by moving objects 8% 5% Vehicle incidents and other 4% 2% Hitting objects with the body 3% 3% Chemicals and other substances 3% 1% Sound and pressure 1% 2% Heat, radiation and electricity 1% Less than 1% Biological factors Less than 1% Less than 1% All mechanisms of incident 100% 100% * Total cost is the cost to date plus estimated outstanding liability ** Year of Initial claim determination 20 Compendium of OHS and Workers Compensation Statistics PUTTING YOU FIRST SRCC

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