Combining safety and RTW awards

Finally, a State-based safety awards night that has both OHS and Return-to-Work awards.  On 27 October 2009, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland held its annual safety awards night as part of Safe Work Australia Week.  In a media release, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Cameron Dick, said

“The inaugural Return to Work Awards are run by Q-COMP – the statutory authority that oversees workers’ compensation in Queensland – to showcase the state’s top employers who understand the importance of helping injured workers make a successful return to work.”

It is curious that other States do not also have combined awards.  The logic of the combination would, perhaps, be easiest for Victoria as the Victorian Workcover Authority handles rehabilitation through VWA as well prevention through WorkSafe Victoria.  The combination may be simpler for those States that have a single insurer for workers compensation.

It is noted that one workers compensation insurer in Victoria, xchanging (formerly Cambridge), has conducted its own awards for several years.  (The author was a judge of these awards several years ago)  The judging process was tripartite with applicants from a pool of the insurer’s clients.  Whether an insurer would relinquish such a role is unknown but the opportunity for State recognition of RTW performance should be attractive.

It should also be noted that winners of State OHS awards are also nominated for national OHS awards conducted by Safe Work Australia.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has questioned the plethora of OHS awards nights in the past as Australia has a fairly small industry and as OHS and workers compensation laws are becoming harmonised, it seems sensible for Safe Work Australia, or the Australian Government more generally, to start harmonising the award processes.  Just imagine how many corporations would be champing at the bit to receive an award for safety that covers all aspects of their safety management.  It would be an award for leadership that may just be warranted.

Kevin Jones

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