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.
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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.
In this update, OHS Alert revisits all the important work health and safety and workers' compensation legislative changes from the third quarter of 2019. We also recap the most significant court and tribunal rulings and other developments from across the country.
Building workplace cultures where both official and unofficial leaders demonstrate a commitment to health and safety, and workers are shielded from the stigma associated with injury claims, is one of five action areas of a new national return-to-work strategy.
Excessive prescription of opioid medication is doubling the risk of long-term disability among injured workers, and highlights the need for workers' compensation schemes to take urgent action, says a leading occupational health researcher.
Skin-damaging frictional trauma is one of the major causes of dermatitis in high-risk occupations identified in a major Canadian study. The researchers also found unexpectedly high rates of the debilitating skin condition in several occupations.
The first multi-jurisdictional study of injured Australian workers' claims experiences has found that a negative or neutral experience can have as much impact as poor health on return-to-work outcomes.