Victoria’s rate of workplace injuries remains near a record low, despite a slight increase in the last financial year, according to WorkSafe Victoria’s latest report. Workers compensation claims rose 0.6% to 6.31 per million hours worked in 2018/19, marking the state’s second-lowest recorded claims rate. WorkSafe Victoria Chief Executive Clare Amies said the state’s compensation scheme remained in sound financial position, with the regulator able to maintain the lowest average insurance premium of 1.272% for the sixth year running.
“Our performance from insurance operations (PFIO) was $68 million, which is an accurate measure of WorkSafe’s financial performance as it excludes external factors such as investment and economic impacts,” Amies said. “This result was $5 million less than in 2017/18 and was influenced by an actuarial increase of $190 million due to a rise in the projected future cost of claims.”
Tragically, 24 people lost their lives as a result of a workplace incident in Victoria in 2018/19 and WorkSafe Victoria accepted 27,606 claims from injured workers. “Every workplace death and injury is preventable, which is why WorkSafe will continue to promote the importance of workplace health and safety and pursue any employee who fails to do all they can to protect their workers,” Amies said. WorkSafe Victoria strengthened its prevention and enforcement efforts last year, with inspectors passing the 48,000-visit target to achieve 48,652 workplace visits last year. Amies said the regulator also achieved a record high satisfaction rating of 90.4% for its services to employees and employers.
The regulator led a series of initiatives last financial year, including an interagency taskforce designed to safely remove millions of litres of waste chemicals across multiple sites in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and the ‘WorkWell’ initiative — which provided online tools to help employers create mentally healthy and safe workplaces and funded more programs targeting the mental wellbeing of vulnerable workers.
WorkSafe Victoria also implemented a suite of measures aimed at reducing crystalline silica exposure during work with engineered stone. Finally, the financial year saw the regulator employ the first of up to 40 new inspectors over the next four years who are expected to bring a greater health and safety focus to the construction industry.
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Robert Kneschke