Workplace injuries appear to be on the decline in Australia, indicating that employers are taking health and safety regulations seriously and providing an increasingly secure environment for their staff.
In 2013-14, there were 113,965 serious injury claims in the country, according to Safe Work Australia data. This was down from 120,050 in the previous year and a significant decrease on 2000-01's figure of 133,115.
But accidents can still happen, so both workers and employers should familiarise themselves with the regulations surrounding workplace injury reporting.
What are my responsibilities as an employee?
If you are an employee who injures themselves at work, your main obligation is to inform your organisation about the incident as soon as possible after it occurs.
Minor workplace injuries may not result in any time off, but people who experience more serious accidents are often eligible for workers compensation to support them while they recover.
You should also seek medical treatment if necessary. Provide your doctor with comprehensive details about your symptoms and the circumstances surrounding your injury in case your compensation claim is challenged.
What should my employer do?
Your employer should offer first aid immediately after the accident, where required, as well as provide you with their insurer's details.
Organisations are required to tell their insurer about the incident within 48 hours, according to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority. However, employees can also contact the insurer directly if they are concerned about a communication breakdown.
For serious injuries, deaths and dangerous incidents, employers are expected to inform SafeWork NSW immediately. These are known as 'notifiable incidents' and organisations face stiff penalties if they fail to get in touch with the appropriate authorities.
What are an insurer's duties?
Insurers will generally contact you, your employer and, in some cases, your medical practitioners to gain a better understanding of your injuries and support needs.
They will let you know whether or not you are entitled to financial aid, as well as provide a workers compensation claim number, which you should quote when visiting doctors and other treatment providers.
This enables your medical practitioners to produce a NSW workers compensation certificate of capacity, which outlines your required treatments, workplace capabilities and any referrals for specialised support services.
Unfortunately, not every workers compensation claim goes according to plan.
If you feel an employer or insurer has failed in their responsibilities, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to see whether your claim should proceed through legal channels.