We are really sick and tired of hearing unsupported and unconvinced charges of injured worker fraud and malingering that are advanced by insurers, employers, and the media and supported by the workers compensation insurance. These allegations also stigmatise injured workers and make them less likely to report injuries and file claims, as is evidenced by a recent report released by The Australia Bureau of Statistics regarding work-related injuries in Australia from July 2009 to June 2010. Their findings revealed that a whopping 64.1% of injured workers were still not receiving compensation.
Many injured workers miss out on workers compensation
The Bureau of Statistics’ findings revealed that although there had been an increase in the number of injured workers who received workers’ compensation payments (35.9% – which is an increase of the 31.3% reported in 2005-2006), a whopping 64.1% of injured workers were still not receiving compensation!
The main reason cited for injured workers not applying for workers’ compensation was that they did not consider it necessary; 50% believed their injury to be minor, 10% believed they were not covered or were not aware of workers’ compensation and a further 10% did not believe they were eligible for compensation.
According to the Bureau of Statistic’s report, the occupations with the highest proportion of injured workers were technicians and tradeworkers (30%), labourers (19%) and machine operators (15%). for male workers.
For women, it was professional positions (24%), community and personal service workers (21%) and sales workers (14%)
Generally, men were more likely to experience a work-related injury or illness than women, says the report. Workers within the 45-49 year age group were also most likely to be affected by a work-related injury or illness ( 72 injured workers per 1,000 employed people).
By far the most common form of injury was a sprain or strain, with almost a third of injured workers affected, while chronic joint or muscle conditions (18%) and open wounds (16%) were also common complaints.
Interestingly, men had a higher proportion of cuts or open wounds, women experienced greater issues with chronic joint or muscle conditions.
Reexamining workers’ compensation: A human rights perspective
Here is a very good article, sourced by our co-author Trinny
This argument should be placed at the Australia Human rights commission, as our workcover system (be is WorkSafe, workcover NSW, workcover SA etc) is guilty of gross violation of human rights to all injured workers!
We believe the commentary and argument in the article could not be clearer and that is that we are not getting a reasonable level of care and dignity or service from workcover which is impacting on our health and well-being.
Re-thinking Workers’ Compensation-The Human Rights Perspective, the June 2012 special open-access issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is now available online.
In the journal commentary, the editor writes:
The articles in this special issue propose an alternate framework and analysis, a human rights approach that values the dignity and economic security of injured workers and their families.” Mainstream debates around workers’ compensation are very technical, market-driven and cost oriented. The focus is rarely on meeting the needs of injured/ ill workers. This discourse ignores the plight of the injured/ill workers and their grave suffering as they navigate workers’ compensation systems that often function poorly on multiple levels. A human rights framework mandates that those most directly and negatively impacted by a system, in this case injured/ill workers, be at the center of any discussion concerning system reform. Contributors to the AJIM special issue accordingly highlight the many failures of workers’ compensation and explore pro-worker strategies, solutions and alternatives that are grounded in the experiences of injured/ill workers and designed to advance their rights.
To read the journal article, click here.