Compensation claims remain high in transport

By: Brad Gardner

Transport and storage continues to exceed the national average for compensation claims made.

Compensation claims remain high in transport
The back was the most common location of the body injured, according to Safe Work Australia's report.


The transport and storage industry remains one of the most dangerous sectors to work in, despite registering gradual safety improvements in recent years.

New statistics from Safe Work Australia on compensation claims show transport and storage still has a long way to go to improve its record.

The sector exceeded the national average for the number of serious claims made for injuries in the 2011-12 financial year.

Safe Work Australia says a serious claim is one that leads to one working week or more away from work.

"Transport & storage industry employees made 19.4 serious claims per 1000 employees [in 2011-12]," the report, Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics 2011-12, states.

Only the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (21.3) topped transport and storage for the number of claims made in 2011-12, while the national average was 11.4.

There was some positive news in the report, with Safe Work Australia saying the number of serious claims made per 1000 employees in the transport and storage industry fell by 30 per cent between 2000-01(29.6) and 2010-11 (20.8).

However, the industry was still far above the national average in each of the years between 2000-01 and 2010-11.

The report also found that transport and storage exceeded the national average for the number of working weeks lost due to injury from 2000-01 to 2010-11.

"All industry divisions showed an increase in median time lost and median compensation payment between 2000-01 and 2010-11. The most substantial increases in median time lost occurred in Transport & storage (43%)…," the report says.

In 2000-01, transport and storage reported 4.1 working weeks lost. The figure increased to 5.8 in 2010-11, ahead of the national average of 5 per cent.

There was also a significant jump in the median compensation paid for injuries in the transport and storage sector. The figure was $5,000 in 2000-01 but had climbed by 78 per cent to $8,900 in 2010-11.

While transport and storage did report a drop in the frequency rate (serious claims per million hours worked) from 2000-01 to 2011-12, the figure still exceeds the national average.

The report shows the frequency rate fell 28 per cent from 14.8 to 10 claims over the period, but the national average in 2011-12 was 6.8 per cent.

The industry was responsible for the majority of back strain injuries across all industries from 2000-01 to 2011-12 (21 per cent), equating to 5.2 claims per 1,000 employees. The national average was 2.74 per cent over the same period.

Health and community services accounted for most compensation claims across all industries examined.

The back was the most common location of the body injured, while a combination of sprains, strains and musculoskeletal disorders (59 per cent) dominated the number of claims made.

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