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Reducing the impact of work harm

13. Sep 2020
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Reducing the impact of work harm

  1. Reducing the impact of work harms Stay the course Shoot the rapids Presentation for the Central Safety Group June 2020. 1
  2. Reducing the impact of work harms A presentation by OHS consultant, analyst and blogger Barry Naismith Based on the current OHS discussion paper* on recent work harms and their social impacts. *Available on request 2
  3. Reducing the impact of work harms The world of work is changing rapidly  work and social disruption  neo-liberal economic policies  globalism  hyper-competition  casualisation of labour  work intensification  smaller government: less red tape  younger demographic: “new gen” employers  etc, etc. 3
  4. Reducing the impact of work harms The world of OHS has not radically changed its approach to reducing work harms. So does OHS … “Stay the course or shoot the rapids?” 4
  5. Reducing the impact of work harms When we set course in Victoria at scheme start:  36 traumatic deaths  136 death claims  64,500 injured at work  first “OHS” prosecution over death - $5000 fine to a corporate entity  WorkCover didn’t exist  “WorkSafe” as a brand didn’t exist. 1985 5
  6. Reducing the impact of work harms Stay the course! What the data says … "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.“ – Douglas Adams Source: WorkSafe Victoria/ABS – interpreted by OHSIntros 2020 6
  7. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE Slides eight to 16:  The number of deaths is reducing.  The rate of death is declining.  The number of ‘death claims’ is reducing.  The total number of injured workers is reducing.  The rate of new workplace injury claims is declining.  The rate of injured workers returning to work is improving over the long term.  More unsafe workplaces being detected.  More employers being prosecuted. THE STRATEGY IS WORKING 7
  8. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The number of deaths is reducing  The toll has reduced to 24 in 2019 - official toll (reported and investigated deaths under s38)  record low this century is 18 in 2005 and 2012. 36 39 35 43 38 41 44 46 35 41 37 33 32 37 39 30 38 34 27 29 18 29 22 22 30 23 25 18 21 23 20 26 27 25 24 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 WorkSafe eraWorkCare/WorkCover era Record lows Reported deaths WorkSafe brand abolished 8
  9. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The rate of death is declining  the rate of death has declined by almost two thirds as the workforce has grown – mwpd measure*  this rate has cut by half in the WorkSafe era (this century).  reduction in death is no longer a WorkSafe KPI. Focus now on injury. One death per 50,000 workers One death per 140,000 workers Total workforce WorkCare/WorkCover era * Unofficial measure - adopted from ABS 9
  10. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The number of ‘death claims’ is reducing  number of death claims granted to dependents has reduced to 67 in 2018-19  the total amount of compensation paid is reducing  almost $1 billion has been provided to assist bereaved families since scheme start. 136 251 294 344 290 243 260 193 136 127 140 123 129 136 107 91 97 91 106 94 91 100 112 86 86 79 81 63 75 89 80 66 85 67 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Death claims Record low WorkCare/WorkCover era 10
  11. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The number of new injury claims is reducing  the number of new claims is down to 27,606 in 2018-19, after a record low in 2016-17  more than $2 billion in benefits, medical and recovery services provided to all injured workers in 2018-19. 64,564 60,034 60,202 54,842 56,726 55,112 47,863 38,384 33,282 33,757 32,808 30,639 30,179 30,947 32,369 31,891 32,145 32,141 30,432 30,635 28,989 29,125 28,785 29,065 29,736 29,261 28,003 26,587 26,757 26,286 25,843 26,429 27,606 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 WorkCare/WorkCover era 11
  12. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The rate of new workplace injury claims is declining  since current official measure adopted to allow for economic growth - rate of million hours worked (pmhw) - rate has edged down. 8.96 8.73 8.54 8.40 8.31 8.23 7.72 7.37 7.34 6.95 6.43 6.23 6.31 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Record low Reported claims – rate 12
  13. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE The total number of injured workers is reducing  total of new and existing workers on benefits (estimated) in modern era is reducing  the first official total released in 2018-19 was 79,654. 93,097 91,141 90,855 92,856 93,462 92,715 92,248 90,688 89,328 90,031 90,000 79,654 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Record low Total claims est. 13
  14. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE 75.80% 78.30% 76.10% 74.10% 77.20% 73.80% 78.60% 80.00% 80.44% 80.23% 78.47% 77.74% 77.35% 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Record high Proportion of workers returning to work The rate of injured workers returning to work is improving  the rate of injured workers returning to work within approx. 18 months - long term - has been increasing  The current rate of 77.35 per cent RTW in 2018-19 equals 13,116 workers returning to work. 14
  15. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE 48,652 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000 45000 50000 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Record high Workplace visits More unsafe workplaces being ‘detected’  more inspectors delivering compliance and enforcement action  record number of workplace visits - 48,652 in 2018-19  non-compliance rate (action per visit) is around one non-compliance every second visit. 15
  16. Reducing the impact of work harms STAY THE COURSE More employers being prosecuted  more investigators and legal officers bringing employers to account  prosecutions (since 1987-88) and fines (since 1990-91) at a higher level to affirm deterrence effect.  first jailing! 45 42 45 76 119 68 64 64 76 76 98 105 97 105 198 217 206 188 136 107 125 119 149 103 116 91 122 121 110 103 127 151 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Millions Total fines Record prosecutions Record Fines Prosecutions Jailed! WorkCare/WorkCover era 16
  17. Reducing the impact of work harms It’s 2020. Is this the measure of success after 35 years?  24 died in a traumatic incident – 2019 CR  67 death claims granted – 2019 FY  27,606 new injury claims – 2019 FY  79,645 injured workers on benefits – 2019 FY. Is this acceptable? Acceptable to who? “ … our workplaces and industries are changing rapidly. New risks and hazards are emerging and community expectations are shifting. To meet the challenge, WorkSafe has begun modernising its services.” - About us. WorkSafe Victoria website 17
  18. Reducing the impact of work harms The Robens model is robust and has served us well for 35 years. Will it continue to do that? 18
  19. Reducing the impact of work harms Stay or Shoot?  the Victorian system is financially strong – the VWA is a $19 billion agency.  income is steady at more than $4 billion p.a. despite a low premium rate  the costs of the workers compensation scheme is sustainable  funding an increase in corporate operations, and a more adventurous and innovative OHS compliance strategy, is possible! 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Billions Assets Money to spend? WorkCover Liabilities 19
  20. Reducing the impact of work harms Shoot the rapids! What the data says… “It is a mistake to think you can solve a major problem just with potatoes.” – Douglas Adams Source: WorkSafe Victoria/ABS – interpreted by OHSIntros 2020 20
  21. Reducing the impact of work harms Slides 22 to 33  The number of reported deaths is now rising.  Claims are at a high level.  The cost of claims is increasing.  Mental injury claims are rising.  Recovery and return to work is struggling.  Deterrence? What deterrence?  The total cost of work harms is rising.  The “known unknowns” – under-reporting and poor data scope and capture. SHOOT THE RAPIDS! THE NEED FOR ADVENTUROUS PREVENTION 21
  22. Reducing the impact of work harms It’s now about the harm at work, not just the risk!  victim harm  social harm  community harm  socio-economic harm  business harms  It’s about the numbers not the rate. Workplace safety minister, Jill Hennessy, with bereaved family members of the industrial manslaughter reference committee, November 2019. SHOOT THE RAPIDS! 22
  23. Reducing the impact of work harms Industrial manslaughter changes the picture  introduces the concept of “harm” into OHS law in Victoria  creates a third “stakeholder” group under law - the bereaved and the seriously injured  raises the bar on deterrence  more resources and capability for the regulator for compliance, investigation and enforcement. SHOOT THE RAPIDS! 23
  24. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! The pace of harm reduction is too slow!  any death at work is a “system failure” in the modern age of OHS  the number of preventable and common injuries is too high  the rise in mental risk and injury  the cost of claims is increasing  new hazards and risks  expectations of wellbeing at work  the Delacombe effect. 24
  25. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! The number of reported deaths is now rising  reported deaths are increasing since the equal record low of 18 in 2012  negates the effect of the decline in rate over the longer term  concern raised by the regulator, government and in the community. 18 21 23 20 26 27 25 24 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Reported deaths Record low 25
  26. Reducing the impact of work harms The impact of work harms – reported deaths 2019 In memoriam: Darcy Membrey Frank Conlan Alex Rogers James Cartwright Mikaela Claridge Greg Roberts David Moresi Peter Howard … and 16 others. Frank James Peter Darcy Greg Mikaela David Alex Source: Narratives of work harm – 24. Deaths at Work. Victoria 2019. OHSIntros June 2020. SHOOT THE RAPIDS! 26
  27. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! Claims are at a high level  total number of claims has increased in five of the last 10 years  real reductions are incremental only  the number of claims has risen for the first time since the current rate was adopted (cpmhw)  complaints over poor injury management subject of two ombudsman reports. 280 671 -475 -1,258 -1,416 170 -471 -443 566 1,177 -1,500 -1,000 -500 0 500 1,000 1,500 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 All injury claims – change in totals Record poor result 27 Ombudsman reports
  28. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $70,000 $80,000 $90,000 $100,000 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $2,500 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Millions Total claim payments Ave. cost of a claims The cost of claims is increasing  the total cost of claims is going up  the average costs of claims in rising  common law is a major cost to the system  death claim costs and action under the Wrongs Act is adding pressure to the system. 28
  29. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! Mental injury claims have risen  the number of mental injury claims is increasing  the proportion of mental injuries is now 14 per cent of all injuries and still growing  mental injury claims recovery is longer term and more costly. 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 17000 17500 18000 18500 19000 19500 20000 20500 21000 21500 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Mental injury claims Traumatic injury claims 29
  30. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! RTW is struggling  the proportion of injured workers not back to work within 18 months is rising  the low rate is despite tougher laws, major reforms and compliance action from a RTW inspectorate  what are the lessons learned to help improve RTW and prevention? 22% 21.40% 21.90% 21.40% 19.96% 19.39% 19.77% 21.53% 22.26% 22.65% 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Proportion of injured NOT back at work Record poor result 30
  31. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! Deterrence? What deterrence?  WorkSafe Victoria has more inspectors, investigators and prosecutors to do more  more visits and prosecutions should lift deterrence effect  average fine over a fatal – only $295,000 approx. (despite multiple charges)  Maximum fine per single s21 charge is now $1.48 million. $0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 Thousands Fines imposed by the courts over a fatality 2010-19 Maximum fine per single charge: $1.48 million 31 Downer EDI 2017 Death of Harry Zagaretos CK Crouch 2017 Death of Troy BakerToll Transport 2016 Death of Anthony Attard
  32. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! By 2030, Victoria will have a workforce of nearly four million people, with many Victorians working in very different environments … WorkSafe needs to transform itself in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead. - WorkSafe Victoria Strategy 2030 And into the unknown …  Under-reporting of injuries  Under-reporting of deaths  poor data scope, capture  lack of analysis of existing datasets  inadequate evaluation of the impact of harms  lack of insight to inform prevention. 32
  33. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! The total cost of work harms is rising … Victoria 2018-19:  costs of injury = $20 billion est*.  cost of death = $4 billion est*. * Excludes the social cost to the community (unknown) and potential productivity loss (unknown). Source: OHSIntros June 2020. Based on OHS RIS, VTHC DTF multipliers 33
  34. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! Bring on board • Absolute ‘duty of care’ • State of knowledge • Deemed compliance • More consultation • More specialist advice • Leading indicators • Maximum fines … and more? TOSS OVERBOARD! • Reasonably practicable • Risk assessment • Hierarchy of control • Prescriptive laws • Safety paperwork • Red tape and cost • Lag indicators • Lenient sentencing … and more? 34
  35. Reducing the impact of work harms SHOOT THE RAPIDS! It will cost … but the benefits!  reduction in injury, disease and death  lower community harm  pressure off compensation system  reduction in rateable premium  scope to cut premium rate  ease business costs and boost the economy  improve safety performance  more productive workplaces  shift focus to improving health, welfare and wellbeing at work  and … more work for consultants! $0 $5 $10 $15 $20 $25 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Billions Income from premium is able to fund the effort Costs of operations will increase - temporarily Assets Liabilities 35
  36. Reducing the impact of work harms Who decides? The board? The executives? The ministers? … and stakeholders, and so do we, because: “A global leader in OHS and workers compensation.” - WorkSafe Victoria website 2020 STAY OR SHOOT? 36
  37. Reducing the impact of work harms We, as consultants, are a significant stakeholder and should have a role in determining the course of OHS. Do we shoot for more influence under the law do we stay the course?  S21 “A”. Duty of care. Seek advice?  S35 “A”. Consultation. Seek advice?  S58 “A”. HSR powers. Seek advice?  S72 “A”. H&S committee. Seek advice?  S73 “A”. Issue resolution. Seek advice? … and s19 - OSHAC/SRG membership. 37 STAY OR SHOOT?
  38. Reducing the impact of work harms Thank you Barry Naismith OHSIntros Introducing you to work health and safety Training. Documentation. Advice t87689404 m0412 952608 ohsintros@bigpond.com ohsintros.com.au Blog facebook.com/ohsintros/ Content source: 24. Deaths at Work. Victoria 2019. OHSIntros June 2020. 38
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