Workplace injury rate remains at near record low

The rate of workplace injuries in Victoria rose last year but remains at a near record low, data contained in WorkSafe’s 2018/19 annual report reveals.


Claims for workplace injuries in Victoria per million hours worked rose slightly to 6.31 in the 2018/19 financial year, but were still the second lowest level on record, 0.6% above the previous year's record low.

Chief executive of WorkSafe Victoria, Clare Amies, said Victoria's compensation scheme remained in a sound financial position.

"Our performance from insurance operations (PFIO) was $68 million, which is an accurate measure of WorkSafe's financial performance as it excludes external factors such as investment and economic impacts," Ms Amies said.

"This result was $5 million less than in 2017/18 and was influenced by an actuarial increase of $190 million due to a rise in the projected future cost of claims."

For the sixth year in a row the scheme was able to maintain its lowest average insurance premium rate of 1.272 per cent.

Tragically, 24 people lost their lives as a result of a workplace incident in Victoria in 2018/19 and WorkSafe accepted 27,606 claims from injured workers.

"Every workplace death and injury is preventable, which is why WorkSafe will continue to promote the importance of workplace health and safety and pursue any employee who fails to do all they can to protect their workers," Ms Amies said.

WorkSafe strengthened its prevention and enforcement efforts in 2018/19, with inspectors conducting 48,652 workplace visits during the year, more than 600 inspections above the target of 48,000.

Ms Amies said it was also pleasing to record a record high 90.4% satisfaction rating for its services to employees and employers.

In 2018/19, WorkSafe led an interagency taskforce to safely remove millions of litres of waste chemicals uncovered at multiple sites in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

WorkSafe also provided a suite of measures aimed at halting the alarming rise in claims from workers who have been exposed to crystalline silica through working with engineered stone.

We continue to see an increase in mental injury claims year on year that reflects a growing awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace.

WorkSafe, through its WorkWell initiative, provided online tools to give employers a step-by-step approach to creating mentally healthy and safe workplaces and funded more innovative workplace programs targeting the mental wellbeing our most vulnerable workers.

In 2018/19, WorkSafe also employed the first of up to 40 new inspectors over the next four years who will bring greater focus to health and safety in the construction industry.

Key financial results as at 30 June 2019

Performance From Insurance Operations: $68 million

Actuarial increase: $190 million

Net result after tax: $(823) million (includes external factors such as investment and economic impacts).