While the legal system that surrounds workers compensation may be based on relatively settled law, this doesn't mean that every case should be cut and dried. In fact, many changes have been made to the legislation since it was first introduced. Consider that this system was derived from 19th century British law (which sought to determine who should be compensated due to injuries sustained at work back then) and you can imagine how much this environment has changed since. Looking to the immediate future, there are some new and unpredictable hurdles to overcome for any employers who must carry this form of protection. What are some of the key challenges here?
Over the last 20 to 30 years, the make-up of the Australian workplace has changed considerably. Many sectors have not fully recovered from the global financial crisis of the last decade and employees feel that their positions are far less secure, as a consequence. Many employees worry so much about their position, that they are afraid to take their annual holidays and think they are vulnerable whenever they're away from the workplace. They may find it a challenge to maintain the proper worklife balance and as a consequence, become far more stressed than they ever used to be.
Some experts predict that there will be a considerable rise in the number of psychological illnesses reported, based on this type of stress. Employers should be aware of this trend and realise that more claims may be made for workers compensation to cover it.
The workforce in the country is also getting older and the baby boomer generation is now close to retirement age. This means that there may be a rise in the number of claims based on age-related conditions, quite apart from the typical work-related cases faced by an employer through the normal course of their business.
Obesity Related Challenges
Australia is not the only country to suffer from an obesity epidemic among its citizens. Often, this can run out of control in families and be evident from childhood. A variety of illnesses can develop as the individual moves into the workplace and it's not surprising that osteoarthritis, diabetes and other illnesses are reaching heights never seen before. How many of these conditions could contribute to a worker's compensation claim, especially as there is a complex "no fault" clause within workers compensation programs today?
How to Be Prepared
To protect yourself as carefully as possible, you need to ensure that your workplace focuses on employee health and wellness as much as possible. Consider whether you can introduce some "early intervention" programs and try and predict certain injuries or conditions proactively. In this way, you may be able to address some pre-claim, rather than once a claim has been lodged. Have a word with your insurance adviser to see if you are ready for the challenge.
For more information, contact companies like Westralian Insurance.