Due to the overwhelmingly high number of workers compensation claims over the last 12 months for serious injuries particularly within the ACT Construction industry, insurance premiums are expected to rise within the next few months.
As early as July this year, insurance premiums are likely to rise due to the high injury rate in the state’s construction industry, which members of the industry seem to be doing nothing about.
According to Mark McCabe, the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, the high injury rates are an indication of a lack of safety standards in the ACT’s construction sector, unfortunately these figures only reflect the financial cost, the human cost is much higher, as he explained. Families are left without breadwinners, children left fatherless and parents losing their children to construction accidents not to mention the high number of workers suffering serious, even debilitating injuries each day.
He also expressed concern that a rise in insurance premiums would affect the consumers who would be required to pay increased amounts for construction projects.
According to the independent inquiry into construction industry safety in the ACT, Getting Home Safely, for each dollar spent on workers’ compensation pay outs, another $4 were required in indirect costs arising from the accident.
This post from SafetyCulture.com.au explains the situation:
The newest actuarial calculations of employment risk are used to decide on the premiums in the ACT and they have been mostly steady since the data was initially published 3 years ago except for a 1.5 increase for the construction industry this year.
Rates for over 300 professions are calculated independently and assembled into a schedule, the Suggested Reasonable Premium Rates 2013-14, which was recently published.
Employers in the ACT paid an average premium of approximately 2.5% of wages in 2011-2012 with the ACT workers compensation scheme affording protection to roughly 16,000 employers and 120,000 workers. On average the scheme pays out over $100 million each year for medical, rehabilitation and return-to-work services.
In 2011-2012 the construction industry represented 10% of the scheme but made 21% of the claims. Over this period 741 construction industry workers were injured which was an increase of 15% with four fatalities in 2012.
McCabe also explained that although it was difficult to compare workers’ compensations schemes around the country as some were government run and some (such as the ACT’s) were run by the insurance companies, the ACT construction industry insurance rates were likely to be the highest in the country due to these increases because of soaring accident rates. He said that because The ACT had the highest serious injury rate, it is only natural that they also possess the highest insurance premium rates as well.
Each work site in the ACT needs to do their part to “get workers home safely” and this begins by ensuring that each worker is trained on general site safety. This general safety induction training, in the form of the White Card will familiarise workers with the hazards and risks presented by construction work and teach them to overcome these hazards. It is also a mandatory requirement and through supervision of workers and on-going training, employers can ensure that the skills taught during the White Card course can be implemented each day while working on site.