Injuries at work fall to record low in Victoria

WorkSafeVIC1

New safety data released by WorkSafe Victoria shows the number of people killed at work has fallen to an all-time low.

Annual figures released by the state’s safety regulator indicate that the rate of workplace injuries per million hours has fallen to 6.43 claims. This represents a 7.5 percent reduction on the previous record of 6.95 claims per million hours worked in the 2015/16 financial year.

The record low rate of injuries and sound scheme management delivered a performance from insurance operations of $233 million (PFIO). The result would have been stronger if not for an actuarial increase of $169 million.

Overall, the scheme posted a net result after tax of $694 million, while its funding ratio was 119 percent. Its breakeven premium remained at 1.262 percent.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said she was pleased that the scheme continued to be in a sound financial position.

“Our PFIO result is the clearest indicator of the scheme’s financial health because it strips out volatility in global investment returns, interest rate fluctuations and other external factors which are outside our control,” Ms. Amies said.

Ms. Amies said the continuing decline in injury claims was a credit to the vigilance of Victorian employers and employees, and to the work of WorkSafe inspectors.

“Injury prevention will always be our prime focus,” Ms. Amies said. “Fewer injuries mean cost savings flow through the entire scheme. More importantly, it means more Victorians are going home safely to their families at the end of every day.”

Ms. Amies said while physical injury claims had fallen dramatically, the number of mental injury claims had begun to rise.

“Mental health problems are a growing issue for the entire Victorian community, so it is not surprising that we are beginning to see it reflected in a rise in workplace mental injury claims,” Ms. Amies said.

“Mental injuries are complex to treat and can have long-term impacts on the individual, their families, and the wider community. That is why we will continue to work with employers to ensure they keep their employees not just physically safe at work but mentally safe as well.

“By building mentally healthier workplaces, employers can build a safer, healthier, engaged, more resilient and, ultimately, more productive workforce.”

Ms. Amies said Victorian industries and workplaces were changing more quickly than ever before, so WorkSafe could not afford to rest on its past successes.

“As Victorian employers and employees encounter new risks, new opportunities and unforeseen challenges, we need to design and deliver the services, research, advice, and care that will better meet, or even anticipate, their needs,” she said.

“Work is now underway on a range of key initiatives that will better serve all Victorians – to support employers, to keep employees safer at work, and to provide more care and support to injured workers so they can recover faster and return to safe work.”

WorkSafe’s 2016/17 annual report can be downloaded here.

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