If you believe your workcover claim has not or is not being handled appropriately or correctly, WorkSafe vic (aka the Victorian WorkCover Authority) advises that you can contact the WorkSafe’s Advisory Service. However, fact is, many injured workers are not aware that there is a specific complaints service as well…
WorkSafe advisory service versus complaint service
According to WorkSafe’s website, if you believe your claim for compensation has not been handled correctly, WorkSafe advises that in the first instance, you talk to your employer, your treating health practitioner or your WorkSafe Agent. They also state that you can contact their WorkSafe’s Advisory Service which will also provide “free and confidential advice” to both workers and employers. You can contact the Advisory Service on (03) 9641 1444 or 1800 136 089.
However what they don’t tell you is that there is also a specific complaints service – there is a huge difference between the “Advisory Service” and WorkSafe’s “complaints service”.
WorkSafe Advisory Service
Advisory Service as per WorkSafe website
The WorkSafe Advisory Service offers:
- answers to general occupational health and safety enquiries
- advice to workers of their WorkSafe rights, including health and
- safety and what to do if they are injured
- employer advice on WorkSafe premium and WorkSafe policy issues
- explaining return to work and rehabilitation rights and obligations
- help to resolve worker, employer and service provider concerns with the WorkSafe scheme.
- advice relating to Licence’s to perform high risk work & Construction Induction
- order and enquire about WorkSafe publications
Call Recording [how ‘confidential’, eh?]
As part of its commitment to providing high quality service to clients, injured workers, employers, stakeholders and members of the public, WorkSafe records all incoming telephone calls to its Advisory Services. This helps identify ways that WorkSafe can improve its services to you. Incoming calls only will be recorded/monitored for:
- employee training,
- reporting on the types and numbers of enquiries we receive
- service improvements
Telephone recordings are securely stored and archived for up to 2 years and subsequently destroyed after this period.
You can contact us by telephone toll-free in all parts of Victoria by
calling 1800 136 089 or (03) 9641 1444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WorkSafe Advisory Service
GPO Box 4306
Melbourne VIC 3001
However, in reality, when you contact the advisory service, your issue(s) or complaint is basically passed on to your insurer’s case manager straight away. Sometimes they’ll contact your case manager whilst you are still on the phone with the “advisor”. Needless to say that most of the time your issues/complaints will not be taken [as] serious [as they ought to be].
Whilst the advisory service may help you to finally obtain things like a rejection letter (so that you can take the matter to Conciliation), an update on your “delayed” surgery approval, outstanding accounts and stuff like that, fact is that no action is really taken, apart from the implied “pressure” from the Advisory service on the case manager (insurer) to give you an ‘update’ or ‘answer’.
At times (and we have experienced it) you may even be treated disrespectfully by an “advisor” and be told things like “well, we can’t force Allianz, xchanging, CGU, whatever to approve your surgery, MRI, whatever-they make a decision whether [it] is reasonable or not, blah blah…”; even though you may have experienced serious misconduct from the part of the insurer (case manager), such as breach of legislation, bullying, most inappropriate delays, frank lying etc.
WorkSafe complaint service
Our wonderful WorkCover Assist worker consultant told us that you can make a real complaint about your case manager or workcover insurer and that these complaints are taken very seriously by WorkSafe, which may penalise the insurer!
For example if your case manager has breached a conciliation ruling (not adhering to a ACCS outcomes certificate), you can and should make an official complaint (and no, not by writing to your case manager/insurer or by calling the WorkSafe Advisory Service!).
You can make a complaint about any wrongdoing/misconduct/ill-treatment – don’t be shy!
WorkCover Assist is also able to make a formal complaint on your behalf!So, don’t put up with any bullsh*t and please use WorkSafe’s complaints department when needed!
Also keep in mind that WorkCover Assist is a very useful service, and contrary to many Vic injured workers’ belief, they do KICK BUTT big time. Ironically WorkCover Assist is a service – consisting of six Workers Consultants – which is funded by WorkSafe.
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