The inaugural Konekt Market Report, which was conducted to shed light on the high cost of total permanent disability claims and workers compensation in Australia, found the economy takes a $60.6 billion blow each year because of workplace injuries.
The study, obtained by Human Capital Magazine, looked into nearly 100,000 workers compensation cases, regardless if they led to payment or not, and the consensus was that if better measures were put in place, the high cost of injured employees could come down. This would include earlier treatment and intervention that could even prevent workplace injuries.
Matt May, head of product at rehabilitation provider Konekt, stated one of the biggest takeaways from the report was that anytime a referral can be made shortly after a workplace injury, it greatly increases the chances that the employee will be able to return to work.
“Even health problems that are frequently attributed to work – e.g. musculoskeletal and mental health conditions – have been shown to benefit from activity-based rehabilitation and an early return to suitable work,” Mr May stated.
Queensland government steps up to help
The Queensland government has taken note of the high cost of TPD claims in the state and developed a plan it says will be able to lower this amount.
The state government’s Resolve at Work program was designed to promote early intervention anytime a workers compensation case is made. The government says this will not only lower the cost of statutory claims, it will even bring down costs indirectly tied to workplace injuries.
“To date this program has saved the Queensland government around $9 million, which gives a return on investment of 1:8,” clinical and organisational psychologist Peter Cotton told Human Capital Magazine.
“It provides a far better outcome in dealing with cases which could have become psychological injury claims.”
Queensland has already seen some success in lowering the number of workers compensation claims that are filed in the state. In fact, statutory claims for the 2012-2013 year were down 5.8 per cent compared with the previous year. When stable employment numbers were factored in, this resulted in a much lower claim rate of about 43 claims per 1,000 employees.
Those who have been injured are encouraged to get in touch with compensation lawyers to assess all legal options.