Manufacturing News

OHS strategy sees compensated fatalities drop nationally, report reveals

Safe Work Australia released the Thirteenth Edition of the Comparative Performance Monitoring (CPM) report, on Australia’s work health and safety and workers’ compensation outcomes for 2009-10.

Safe Work Australia chair Tom Phillips said the report indicates that the rate of compensated injury fatalities is at its lowest level since the start of the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012, and it is expected that the target of a 20 percent reduction by 2012 will be achieved.

"While this is a good result, there were still 194 compensated fatalities recorded in Australia for 2009-10 and each year 13 out of every 1000 workers continue to be injured seriously enough to require a week or more off work,"

"To continue to see a decrease in injury and disease in the workplace, we must stay committed to work health and safety and set high targets to ensure safer workplaces for all Australians," said Phillips.

"Since the start of the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012 there has been a 25 per cent improvement, however this report shows that considerably more work is required if the target of a 40 per cent reduction in the rate of injuries is to be achieved by 2012."

"While some areas are recording a reduction in incidents and deaths, we still need to make sure this is consistent in all areas. The report shows that return to work following an injury slightly improved from last year, with 75 per cent of injured workers successfully returning to work within eight to 10 months of sustaining their injury," said Phillips.

He said the report found that injury and disease rates in the transport and storage, manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries are still nearly twice the national average and employees and employers need to work together to improve work health and safety in these industries.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Australian workers’ compensation schemes expended more than $7 billion of which around half (56%) was paid direct to injured workers in compensation for their injury or illness and 22% was spent on medical and other services
  • Body stressing continued to be the injury/disease that accounts for the greatest proportion of claims (41%)
  • Work health and safety authorities undertook close to 200 000 workplace interventions and issued 63 000 notices during 2009-10, and
  • Employers are now paying 1.53% of payroll in workers’ compensation premiums compared to 2.01% in 2005-06.

The Thirteenth Edition of the CPM report and previous reports can be found online.

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