Georgie , Shaneel , Marco, Katherine. Safety Within the Workplace. Statistics . Of the 10.8 million Australians who worked at some time in the 12 months to June 2006, 6.4% (690,000 people) experienced a work-related injury, with men experiencing a higher work-related injury rate than women.
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Georgie, Shaneel, Marco, Katherine Safety Within the Workplace
Statistics • Of the 10.8 million Australians who worked at some time in the 12 months to June 2006, 6.4% (690,000 people) experienced a work-related injury, with men experiencing a higher work-related injury rate than women. • In 2005–06, occupation groups with the highest injury rates were Intermediate production and transport workers (108 per 1,000 employed), Tradespersons and related workers (107 per 1,000) and Labourers and related workers (106 per 1,000). These three occupations accounted for more than two-fifths (45%) of all injured workers, yet represented only 29% of all employed persons.
Statistics • In 2004, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) estimated that the ABS Australian National Accounts estimates for workers compensation payments to households represented 22% of the total costs of work-related injuries in 2001–02, with indirect costs such as lost productivity, loss of income and quality of life comprising the remainder. • Assuming that the composition of total costs has remained at a similar level since 2001–02, the total cost of work-related injury for the financial year 2005–06 would be at least $34.9b (based on an estimate of $7.8b in workers compensation payments to households in 2005–06). • In 2005–06, there were 392,700 (57%) injured workers who received some type of financial assistance to cover medical expenses or income loss. More than half (55%) of these people received workers' compensation, while almost one-quarter (23%) received financial assistance through regular sick leave from their employer
Negligence • Legal concept suggesting that a relationship with another individual is established so that, should any mishaps occur, injured partied may be compensated for damage • To prove the injured person must show; relationship between the parties existed, a breach of this duty of care and damage as a result of this breach • Effectiveness; Traditionally to prove a duty of care was owed was hard to prove ineffective for individuals as their access to receive negligence and enforceability of this concept was limited • Today, it is much easier to prove with the developments of contract law • Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co V English 1938 stated that there were 3 main duties owed by employers to employees; competent fellow employees, adequate plant from which to work and a safe system of work
Negligence – Case LawWorkers Call for Industrial Manslaughter Law Following Death 24 October 2003 • On Monday, October 27, a Sydney rally will be addressed by Sue Exner, mother of 16 year old Joel Exner, who was tragically killed on a building site at Eastern Creek on October 15. • Joel died as a result of a 12-metre fall that could have been avoided had the employer • Joel was killed as a result of his boss cutting corners to maximise profits," says Andrew Ferguson, state secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). • Pressure is mounting on the NSW Government to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation with thousands of workers rallying across the state. • On 27 November 2003 the ACT Parliament passed the Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill 2002, creating the offence of industrial manslaughter. • That offence carries a maximum penalty of $1.25 million for companies. Individuals face a penalty of up to $250,000 or imprisonment for 25 years or both. • Under the ACT legislation, an employer and senior officer of an organisation commits the criminal offence of industrial manslaughter if: • a worker dies in the course of employment or is injured in the course of employment and later dies; and • the conduct of the employer or senior officer causes the death of the worker; and • the employer or senior officer is reckless about causing serious harm to the worker or negligent about causing the death of the worker
Negligence – Effectiveness • Effectiveness; • Yes as it recognizes employee rights to work in a safe environment, • Ensures employers provide employees with appropriate levels of protection and standards of care whilst at work, • has the opportunity of enforcement through the concept of negligence where any occurring injuries are open court procedures – providing the 3 aspects mentioned earlier can be proven • Reflects community standards and expectations to work in a safe, fair environment where injuries incurred through no fault of the employee are recognised and compensated for
Negligence - Justice • Justice; • Increased access and equality through providing employees with a channel to be compensated for damage • Traditionally to prove a duty of care was owed was hard to prove unjust for individuals as their access to receive negligence was limited • By providing employees with fairness as if they get injured and it is not there fault, they are enabled to receive due compensation.
Statutory duties of Employers and Employees • One of the first duties for the employers under statute was the Employers Liability Act 1880 (NSW) • Allowed ‘workmen’ (meaning, manual laborers) if injured in specific work conditions or by other employees, to sue the employer for damages.
Statutory duties of Employers and Employees – Effectiveness • This was seen as ineffective as it only applied to manual laborers. The Act did not cover many work situations. • Inequality, limited access (inapplicable to most) • Increased cooperation of safety procedures to minimize conflict and save resources • This Act was effective for establishing the grounds for other Acts to follow with greater general application, increasing effectiveness through greater equality and access
Statutory duties of Employers and Employees – Justice • Justice; Increased equity for employees within the workplace as the employers duties are set out, and thus employees role within the workplace cannot be compromised under Australian law
Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) Legislation • Designed to ensure employees are provided for should injuries occur in their employment period. It can also in specific instances, include contractors • Injuries that occur during any activity directly related to the employment are all considered to be a part of an persons ‘course of employment’ -> enabling them to apply for compensation
Workers Compensation Legislation – Effectiveness • Effectiveness of the Workers Compensation Act • Increases cooperation of both employees and employers • Effectively allocates resources to prevent injuries that ultimately cause more costs to a business and individual (time and money) • Effective through future prevention
Workers Compensation Legislation – Justice • Justice; • The Act provides increased equality to employees by providing the coverage of expenses caused by injury inflicted to the worker whilst working. • Provides compensation to employees for medical costs etc fairness
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) • Robens Report was followed by the Williams report on the NSW system of workplace in 1981- this report showed that NSW legislation, like the English system it was based upon, did not adequately prevent workplace accidents. • The Williams report concluded that future workplace safety legislation should be put in place with clear objectives- “there should be a right, in every persons employment, to have adequate protection against ill-health or injury arising in the course of employment” • OH&S Act aims to protect safety and welfare of all people in the workplace • It does this through clearing outlining the duties and obligations of both employees and employers
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) – Effectiveness • Effectiveness; • Recognises the rights of the individual (employee) by outlining certain aspects of OH & S that must be applied to all workforces • Demonstrates equality as all OH & S laws apply to all workforces • provides an effective balance between individual and societal rights as they work together to achieve maximum results without interferences like injuries and other conflicts that may arise • protects individuals as breaches of the act can result in monetary (between $55 to $550 thousand) or non-monetary (remedying/correcting unsafe situations, paying WorkCover costs of investigations) penalties for first time offenders. Additional offences can result in increased fines and or 2 years imprisonment
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) – Justice • Justice; • OH&S protects human rights- through providing a safe workplace for employees • Increases fairness for employees because they are able to take reasonable care and safety of themselves and others as they are able to refuse, obstruct, interfere and disrupt any unsafe practices they witness in the workplace
WorkCover • State government body administers Work Cover Scheme – 2 main functions • Provide workers compensation and rehabilitation benefits to injured workers in NSW • Monitors health and safety standards in workplace
WorkCover – Effectivenss • Effectiveness; • Resource efficiency -> ensuring workers are able to return to work as soon as possible and continue to contribute to production • Protects individuals and ensures they are compensated for injuries • Recognizes individual rights
WorkCover – Justice • Justice; • Increased access as Work Cover provides a legal body for employees to use if they require rehabilitation • Increased equity for employees/employers as Work Cover ensures that both participants within the workplace work in a environment with adequate health and safety standards
Statistics • Workers compensation claims • total workers compensation claims payments for 2000–01 = $2.9 billion – a 9.8% • in 2000–01, new major claims increased by 1.1% from the previous year to 53, 797 (new major claims are claims for which the result of injury was death, permanent disability or temporary disability, where five days or more were paid for total incapacity). • Workplace injuries • Workplace injuries accounted for 80% of total payments, while occupational diseases accounted for 12.3%. • The largest components of workplace injury payments were commutations (redemptions) at 23%, then damages and common law (17%). The largest three components of occupational disease payments were commutations (21%), legal costs (16%), and damages and common law (15%). • Summonses • in 2001–02, Work Cover laid 905 summonses. There were 455 convictions for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1987. The court dismissed 40 summons and 23 were withdrawn – a 91% success rate. Total fines awarded by the courts were over $9.5 million.
Media Reports • WorkCover investigates incident at Blue Scope Steel 30/04/2010 WorkCover NSW is investigating an incident at Blue Scope Steel where a 20-year-old contractor received serious burns this afternoon.Preliminary enquiries suggest that the worker, a fourth year apprentice fitter contracted to undertake work on site, was removing a slip plate from a large gas main at the time of incident.It appears the gas main was being purged with steam and the worker received burns to his leg, shoulder and hip.The worker was taken to Wollongong Hospital and is expected to be transferred to the Concord Burns Hospital in Sydney.WorkCover has sent two inspectors to the site and will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, including reviewing the systems of work in place on the site at the time of the incident.
Rehabilitation • Traditionally, rehabilitation schemes were designed where large sums of compensation were paid to employees with little to no focus on procedures that bring the employee back in to the working environment • Ineffective as it was an inefficient use of resources for both parties • Today, it is a huge benefit to employee/ers and is much more effective. Employees with rehab today are back at work much quicker, reducing the need and cost for training new staff (resource efficiency) • Rehabilitation can be physical/psychologically beneficial.
Rehabilitation • For society, rehabilitation reduces costs of continued compensation payments and insurance premiums are reduced and society has a member who is fully functional and contributing to the economy as consumer and taxpayer. • Workers are rehabilitated under the Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW) – providing effective management of work-related injuries and compensation for workers suffering injuries. The aim of the act is to: • Prompt treatment of injuries • Effective and proactive management of injuries • Necessary medical and vocational rehabilitation following injuries – so worker is able to return to work as soon as possible
Rehabilitation – Effectiveness • Effectiveness; • Individual: recognises individual rights, enforceability, protection • Society: resource efficiency (worker returning as soon as possible), reflection of community standards and expectations, opportunities for enforcement.
Rehabilitation – Justice • Justice; • Provides justice to employees as a change in societal values has allowed for quicker rehabilitation processes, reducing the time it takes for an employee to return to the workplace, providing greater equality for both employees and employers