Safe Work Australia was released four statistical reports into worker health in Australia. These are important and useful reports that will assist many companies and safety professionals to better address workplace hazards.
Factors affecting applications for workers’ compensation
This report has identified several factors that affected the likelihood of employees making workers’ compensation claims and the reasons for not applying for workers’ compensation following a work-related injury. These include:
Female employees were less likely to apply for workers’ compensation for their work-related injury than male employees.
Of injuries that involved some time lost from work, 52% of female employees did not apply for compensation compared to 46% of male employees.
Reasons for not applying
Male and female employees did not apply for compensation for nearly four tenths of their injuries that involved some time lost from work because they considered the injury too minor to claim. For a further one-tenth of these injuries, male and female employees felt it was inconvenient or too much effort to apply.
Male employees did not apply for compensation for over two in ten injuries because they did not know they were eligible for compensation.
For female employees, nearly two in ten did not apply due to concerns about their current or future employment.
Young female employees were least likely to claim workers’ compensation while males aged 45–54 years were most likely to claim compensation for injuries that involved some time lost from work.
Type of injury
The type of injury had little impact on whether an injured employee applied for workers’ compensation except in cases that involved stress or other mental conditions. While around half of all injuries that involved some time lost from work were claimed, injuries that involved stress were only claimed in 36% of cases.
Duration of employment
There was little difference in the percentage of employees who claimed workers’ compensation based on employment duration: employees with less than one year of employment claimed workers’ compensation for 52% of their time lost injuries compared to 47% of time lost injuries for those with more than one year of employment.
Alternative sources of financial assistance
Regular sick leave was used by nearly two in ten injured employees who did not apply for workers’ compensation
One in ten accessed government payments such as Medicare and Centrelink payments.
Full-time / part-time employment
Of the injuries incurred by full-time employees that involved some time lost from work, 47% applied for workers’ compensation compared to 53% of part time employees.
Unlike full-time employees, one of the main reasons why part-time employees did not apply for compensation was due to concern about current or future employment.
Of the injuries to employees with paid leave entitlements that involved some time lost from work, 56% applied for workers’ compensation compared to just 43% of employees without paid leave entitlements.
Injured employees without paid leave entitlements were three times as likely to think they were not eligible for workers’ compensation as employees with paid leave entitlements.