What is WorkSafe?

Author: MHR Senior HR/IR Manager, Christine Jones

 

Let’s make WorkSafe simple.

Over four separate articles we will give you the short version and hopefully answer a few questions along the way. We’ll begin with:

1. What is WorkSafe and how does it relate to your business?

 

and, in the coming weeks, take you through three other topics:

2. Is your workplace safe?

3. What to do if you have a WorkSafe claim?

4. Return to work – the happy end to a workplace injury.

 

So, what is WorkSafe and how does it relate to your business?

Worksafe Victoria is the occupational health and safety arm of the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA), looking after health and safety in Victorian workplaces.

WorkSafe exists to assist, by helping to -

  • avoid workplace injuries occurring, by providing guidelines and guidance
  • enforce Victoria's occupational health and safety laws
  • provide reasonably priced workplace injury insurance for employers
  • assist injured workers back into the workforce
  • manage the workers' compensation scheme by ensuring the prompt delivery of appropriate services and adopting prudent financial practices.

Which means that WorkSafe is there to assist both the employer and the employee. It has rules and regulations to keep people safe and healthy in the workplace, but in the event of a work-related injury or illness, it is there to provide fair compensation to workers.

 

Employer obligation – WorkCover Insurance:

If your business has a gross annual payroll of more than $7,500 then you must register for WorkCover Insurance. (If you have apprentices or trainees there is no minimum gross annual payroll – you have to have WorkCover Insurance).

Your premium is based on your payroll and is called your Rateable Remuneration. The amount may change as staff leave or new employees come on board, so maintain good records so that you don’t pay too much or too little. Make sure you provide your updated certified remuneration details on your due date - if you don’t WorkSafe will estimate it for you at 20% above the previous year.

A work-related injury or illness can change a worker’s life, and it can also have a big impact on your business.

It’s also likely to have a domino effect across the business. One worker is injured or suffers a physical or mental illness, and other employees can be affected by that. It might be that they simply experience shock or sadness, or it could be that they are concerned about their own health and wellbeing. Whatever the impact you have a duty of care, so as well as looking after the injured/ill worker, you also need to take care of everyone else. Maintaining morale comes down to you and the way you handle the situation. Clearly, you can’t divulge personal information, but it’s important to keep your employees informed of the general situation and assure them.

You may experience a loss of corporate knowledge or the absence of a particular skill-set, if the injured/ill worker is unable to return for a considerable period of time, or unable to ever return.

You may choose to spread the load to other staff; or parachute another staff member into that role; or even engage a replacement. All of which takes considerable time and resources.

So, as well as ensuring a safe working environment, by knowing your workplace and employing preventative OH&S measures, it is essential to your business that you get that worker back.

Return to work is the ultimate aim of the whole scheme and WorkSafe, and its agents, provide a lot of support to both the injured worker and the employer. We’ll cover that later in these snapshots.

 

On your Radar:

·       Keep your Workplace injury insurance up to date

·       Actively maintain a safe and healthy working environment

 

Some useful links:

General information: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

WorkCover Insurance – rateable remuneration: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/insurance/remuneration-calculations

Employer and Worker’s responsibilities: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/claims/process