Work-related injury and illness continues to occur at significant levels in Australia .

That’s despite a reduction of more than 60 per cent in the last 15 years.

In 2021-22, 497,300 people or 3.5 per cent of the Australian workforce reported a work-related injury or illness.

That is down from 9 per cent in 2005-06. 

But it still resulted in 66 per cent needing time off work and 31 per cent filing a worker’s compensation claim.

The cost to the economy is estimated at $28.6m annually.

Even worse, around 200 people are fatally injured in Australia at work each year.

Common work-related injuries

The most common work-related injuries are:

  • working with vehicles
  • falls, slips and trips
  • being hit by moving objects
  • body stressing (resulting from repetitive or strenuous work)

Musculoskeletal conditions make up 57 per cent of workers’ compensation claims.

Mental health and other psychological illness claims are on the rise.

The latest data reveals 70 per cent of fatalities and 58 per cent of serious injuries occur in just six industries. They are:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
  • Public Administration and Safety

It all highlights the enormous importance of observing safe work practices.

But sometimes, accidents just happen.

And when they occur, here’s what you should do.

The first steps

When you suffer an injury at work that needs medical attention, there are three basic steps to follow.

Seek appropriate medical care -arrange to see your GP or call an ambulance if necessary. 

Be sure to follow workplace safety protocols and guidelines to guard against any further harm. This also helps to facilitate a smooth claims process. 

Your doctor should provide you with a Work Capacity Certificate outlining your treatment plan and the tasks you can do safely while recovering.

Notify your employer – the scale of the injury will dictate how soon you are able to notify your employer. This is an important part of the process and should not be disregarded.

Document the incident for legal and insurance purposes – identify any witnesses who may have seen the incident. Take photos of the scene as well as your injuries or ask someone to take them on your behalf.

Making a claim

In Australia, workers’ compensation falls under state jurisdiction.

It’s wise to call a claims agent as soon as possible after injury and in some circumstances independent legal advice may need to be considered.

Workers should remain in close communication with their employer.

Injured workers in South Australia can report an injury by calling their claims agent:

  • EML 1800MUTUAL (1800 688 825)
  • Gallagher Bassett 180 774 177

If you are unsure who to call, you can find your claims agent here.

When making a claim, you will need the following:

  • your contact details
  • your employer’s contact details
  • details of your injury including when and where it occurred
  • doctor’s reports or medical information relevant to your injury including current treatments 
  • any other relevant information

Rehabilitation and recovery

The importance of following a tailored recovery plan is critical, especially if a workplace injury claim has been lodged.

Adhere rigidly to physical therapy plans and any assistive devices designed to get you back on your feet in the shortest time frame.

Follow the advice of health professionals in terms of medications and follow-up appointments.

Communication and support

Keep the lines of communication open with both your employer and healthcare providers to nurture a supportive environment that addresses any concerns or challenges while you recover.

Talk to your supervisor about the possibility of returning to work with modified duties, work from home or flexible work arrangements while appreciating your employer’s needs.

Preventative measures and long-term wellness

Do your bit to promote workplace health and safety.

Talk to your employer about whether any safety measures may be implemented to guard against a repeat incident.

Try to speed up your own recovery by eating healthily and adopting other healthy lifestyle practices.

Consider stress management techniques to aid your own mental health and wellbeing.

Book an appointment

Sometimes, a work-related injury simply comes down to chance and is unavoidable.

But others are the result of a lack of planning or care.

It’s important to do everything you can to prevent workplace injuries including attending workplace training requirements for safety management.

In the event you or a colleague is injured at work, it’s important to follow the protocols and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

At AHA Clinics, our doctors are versed in workplace injury management and will be by your side every step of the way on your road to recovery.

They work with a range of allied health professionals and can design a complete healthcare plan to ensure your full recovery comes with a minimum of inconvenience.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.