One in three Australian workers who sustain a physical injury experience serious secondary mental illnesses, but few of these people access mental health services that could accelerate their recovery and return to work, according to a study.
Safe Work Australia members have agreed to start transitioning to a new chemical safety system within six months, while SWA has released a practical guide to managing ultraviolet radiation risks and a 60-page workers' comp report, and a WHS regulator has outlined safety duties relating to poor air quality.
The vast majority of workers with disabilities, health conditions or injuries are motivated to retain, secure or return to suitable employment, but necessary work accommodations are rare, and outcomes are stymied by stigma and discrimination, according to a major report on empowering workers.
Workers' comp claims agents have taken steps to conceal rather than eliminate unethical practices identified in a damning 2016 report, the Victorian Ombudsman has found. The five agents cherry-pick evidence to reject complex claims and intrusively surveil injured workers "without a shred of evidence to justify it", she found.
Reforming one of Australia's major workers' comp schemes has had significant unintended consequences on injured workers' health, providing caution for future changes, researchers have found in an analysis of four years of claims data.
An Australian project involving wearable sensors has found certain common manual handling tasks in the healthcare sector are far more hazardous than previously thought, and identified cost-effective ways to control the risks.
There has been little political will to harmonise Australia's workers' comp schemes over the last two decades, but the emergence of the gig economy and a major report on the future of work could force governments to revisit the issue, or at least expand access to workers' compensation.
> Falling work fatality rate encouraging, but "not cause for celebration"; > Regulators issue fatality alerts, PCBU receives 13 prohibition notices; and > Many employers falling short of sun-related WHS duties.
Employers are facing increasing pressure to provide psychologically healthy workplaces, with the Productivity Commission calling for explicit WHS laws for mental health and "no-liability treatment" for workers, and unions saying work "must be at the centre" of efforts to reduce mental illness.
Workers' comp schemes must address injured workers' "normal reactions to injuries" to prevent them from transitioning into permanent disability, the medical director of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in the US has told an Adelaide conference.