WorkSafe Chair, Elana Rubin, said while claims increased in recent months in line with expectations as economic conditions continue to strengthen, more needs to be done with Victoria’s employers and workers to keep improving safety.

“We achieved the lowest injury rate on record, but in the past six months, we’ve seen an increase in the total number of hours worked which brings with it a greater risk of injuries.”

“WorkSafe will continue to target the most common injuries, particularly in the construction sector and on farms which traditionally have the highest death and serious injury rates.

“Aside from making sure people make it home from work at the end of the day, putting safety front-and-centre makes good sense for business and helps bring scheme claim and premium costs down,” Ms Rubin said.

“We’re challenging those outdated perceptions that injuries can’t be prevented or that jobs growth means more people will get hurt at work. As our public awareness campaign targeting musculoskeletal injuries showed, employers and workers of Victoria have a central role to play protecting their businesses, their people and themselves.”

WorkSafe’s half-year financial results to 31 December 2010 show the scheme’s continuing fundamental strength.

  • Performance from insurance operation (PFIO) – the key measure of the scheme’s financial performance – stands at $61m for the first six months of the year.
  • The net result after tax was $396 million – well above budget – and the funding ratio across all operations remains healthy at 106%.
  • Liabilities – measured twice each year by WorkSafe’s external actuaries came in 0.06% above forecast at $8.75 billion, with assets valued at $9.7billion.'
  • The interim figure on workers compensation claims per 1000 workers rose 2.4% to 10.49 in the six months to 31 December. This is largely attributable to strengthening economic conditions and an increase in hours worked.

Ms Rubin said WorkSafe will keep on tackling the causes of injury and illness through programs like:

  • ‘Back to Basics’, a three-year project focused on safety basics on domestic construction sites. It targets the four trades with the highest incidence of claims: carpenters, plumbers, electricians and concreters.
  • a statewide operation to reduce deaths and injuries on farms.  Since July 2010, WorkSafe inspectors issued 273 safety improvement notices in visits to 361 farms in Victoria.
  • The WorkHealth program, which aims to address some of the major preventable health risks facing our working community, and has now delivered more than 300,000 health checks to Victorian workers.

Summary of 2010-11 half-year financial results

Financial results 6 months to 31 December 2010 6 months to 31 December 2009 6 months to 31 December 2008
Performance from insurance operations $61M $288M $168M
Actuarial release ($5M) $57M $7M
Net result after tax $396M $686M ($1.42B)