Celebrate National Safe Work Australia month with safe work practices

For many Australians, earning a regular income is essential for maintaining financial viability and a comfortable lifestyle. However, accidents and injuries unfortunately do happen and they can interfere severely with your ability to get back into the workforce successfully – potentially leaving you out of pocket during the crucial recovery process.

October marks National Safe Work Australia Month, a great opportunity to focus on improving your health and safety at work. This year, the theme is “Safety is a frame of mind: Get the picture”, and Safe Work Australia is asking people to think about their reasons for staying safe at work. The importance of safe work practices can’t be emphasised enough, with statistics from Safe Work Australia showing that the rate of work-related injury and/or sickness in the country is still higher than it should be.

According to the organisation’s 2013 Key Work Health and Safety Statistics booklet, during the 2009–10 period a total of 131,170 workers’ compensation claims were filed for serious work-related injuries or illnesses. In fact, a quarter of serious claims made, needed at least 12 or more weeks away from work, with the result that work-related injury and illness was estimated to cost $60.6 billion in the 2008–09 financial year.1

These statistics highlight the consequences of such incidents, and the substantial financial impact involved when your ability to work is compromised. With that in mind, National Safe Work Australia Month is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your health and safety knowledge.

Protecting yourself

The best way to protect yourself against work-related injuries and illness is to follow the right health and safety policies and practices for your job. However, even with the best preparation accidents can still happen, and when they do it can be comforting to know you have insurance in place to protect you after the fact.

In Australia, employers are legally obliged to give their staff appropriate compensation if an injury or illness has occurred because of their work, and each state or territory has their own legislation to cover employees. To find out more about the work compensation authorities in your own state or territory, visit the Australian Government business resource website for a complete list.

It is compulsory for employers to take out workers compensation insurance to provide recompense for work-related injuries or illnesses. However, workers compensation does not cover incidents that are not directly work-related, which means that injuries or accidents that occur outside of the workplace can leave you unable to claim benefits under the workers compensation policy.

In this situation, Income Protection insurance could provide financial support depending on your circumstances, if you are unable to return to work for an extended period of time. It’s important to make sure you get the policy that’s most suitable for your needs, so you may want to compare income protection providers before making a decision.

  1. Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia [PDF, 20 pages, 1.07 MB]

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.