Contributing to the Implementation of the OHS Consultation Process. Penny Shields. Why consult using the consultative process?. Consultation should be viewed not just as a legal requirement, but as a valuable means of improving the employer’s decision making about health and safety matters.¹
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Median Time Lost per Serious Injury vs. Median Payment per Serious Injury in the Health & Community Services Industry
The purpose of this graph is to compare the Median Time Lost per Serious Injury and the Median Payment per Serious Injury in the Health and Community Services Industry. It is expected that time lost on an injury would incur a cost. However it is important to note the correlation of these when managing Workers Compensation claims as there are ways for the company or business to reduce the number of days/time lost per claim which in turn will impact the amount spent.
The graph shows that in 2003/04, despite the fact that the amount of time lost per Serious Injury was at its highest rate within the sample period (5yrs), the Median Payment to those injuries was in fact lower. Both median time lost and medial payment per serious injury steadily increase from the 2003/04 year, though it is obvious that each serious claim costs more even though time lost continues to increase.
There are a few factors that may contribute to this. The first is that since 2003/04, wage rates have continued to increase in line with inflation; therefore cost per claim in wages will continue to increase. Also of note is that time lost decreased from 2002/03-2004/05, however then increased considerably from 2004/05-2006/07. It is difficult to determine why this may be. It may be due to the nature of the injuries sustained or the nature of the occupation of those injured.
Another important factor to consider is the cost of medical care. It would be expected that the cost of medical treatment has increased each year. Therefore, this would impact the total cost of each claim/injury. i.e. it may have cost less to treat an injury in 2002 than it would to treat the same injury in 2007.
This graph is particularly important when one considers that it is widely suggested that the more time taken off work during an injury equates to a higher expense per injury. Whilst this certainly appears to be the case in the later years of this graph, in the 2002/03 year, it was the opposite. So it begs the question – why is this the case? Some considerations are the salary level of the injured party, the length of absence from work, the type of injury, the occupation and the related medical expenses.
It is also important to note the trend that can be seen in this graph. The gap between time lost and payment per injury is continuing to increase each year. That is, that the Health & Community Services Industry are having to pay more for each injury. Whilst the time lost per injury is also increasing, it does not appear to be at the same rate as the expense. Again, this could be attributed to salary, occupation and types of injury.
It is therefore reasonable to deduce that supporting injured employees from the time of injury and assisting them to return to work as soon as possible will assist in reducing the cost and expense for each serious injury that occurs. An important way to do this is to ensure the provision of suitable duties for the injured party and also to ensure that these duties are meaningful to assist the worker in their rehabilitation and desire to return to full-time duties.
Shields: The Shield Makers
Health and Safety Committee