WorkCover SA drives injured workers to suicide

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It has come to our attention that, in 2010, an injured worker jumped to his death from the 6th floor of the WorkCover SA building and left a suicide note explicitly blaming WorkCover SA for his suicide.

Today Tonight in South Australia aired this disturbing report  in January 2010 and talked to two widows who blame WorkCover SA as contributing to their husbands’ suicides.

You can view the video on Today Tonight’s website – simply type in “WorkCover Suicide” to locate the video report.

Mr Kevin Purse, a leading safety expert, was also interviewed in that story at the time. Purse had also undertaken an [popup url=’http://www.saunions.org.au/SAUnions%28Rev%29.pdf ‘]investigation into the SA workers compensation system[/popup], which state:

“By any objective standard, South Australia’s lacklustre workers’ compensation performance is attributable to poor management by WorkCover and its former claims agents rather than the level of entitlements available to injured workers.

The core problem has been the ongoing failure to manage the rehabilitation and return to work process.

It also includes the failure to ensure that employers comply with their return to work obligations.  Having said that, WorkCover’s new claims agent EML needs to be given a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate that it is capable of improving the scheme’s performance.”

Purse’s report emphasised that the SA workers compensation scheme is faltering because of poor management:

“Attempts to blame injured workers for the scheme’s shortcomings though are no more than a diversion from the real issues. It is all too easy to paper over management cracks by slashing workers’ entitlements.  This has explicitly been acknowledged by senior executives of Victoria’s WorkCover Authority who have frequently emphasised the importance of achieving substantial improvements in scheme performance without resorting to cuts in workers’ payments or hikes in employer premiums.

We also dugg up that  on 1 April 2008, the Minister for Industrial Relations announced a $15m Return to Work Fund  “to fund initiatives helping retraining, rehabilitation and return to work programs and initiatives”, and we do really wonder where all that money went!

The Today Tonight’s story highlights yet a again that being injured in the workplace through no fault of the injured worker should not lead to a life of poverty.

The the lack of hope of having a meaningful life, being treated inhumane, being driven to poverty and being denied vital medical and like support by workcover insurers  is what is pushing far too many injured workers to tragically end their lives.

 

3 Responses to “WorkCover SA drives injured workers to suicide”

  1. The popular Health and Safety For Beginners Magazine kindly picked up this tragic story and published it! Good on you and we applaud you for publishing important matters! You can read the H&S magazine online here

    workcovervictim August 26, 2012 at 8:32 am
  2. These are the kind of stories the media ought to publish over and over again!!!

    workcovervictim August 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm
  3. I’m ashamed that we live in such a society.

    Sadly we have a law in NSW now, which forces people to commit suicide. Sounds cruel but true!!