WorkSafe Victoria is celebrating its 30th year as Victoria’s workplace health and safety regulator.
The Accident Compensation Act officially commenced operation on 1 September 1985. It established a single Government insurance scheme, WorkCare replacing more than 50 insurers.
The power to regulate work health and safety were granted to the organisation in 1996.
WorkSafe has been successful in improving workplace safety in the state, with the number of injuries reducing from 58,700 in 1985 to 26,500 in 2014.
Since its inception, almost 1.27 million Victorian injured workers have received support from the scheme. It has paid more than $ 31 billion in compensation, medical assistance and rehabilitation services.
WorkSafe’s Chief Executive, Clare Amies said approaches to workplace health and safety had improved significantly over the past 30 years.
“The changing nature of work, particularly the introduction of safer machinery and mechanical aids, has meant that historically dangerous and injury-prone industries, such as manufacturing, health care and construction, are now better at managing risks to health and safety,” said Ms Amies.
“However, body-stressing type injuries, and injuries as a result of slips, trips and falls remain the most common types of injuries, just as they have done every year for the past 30 years.
“WorkSafe is continuing to educate employers and workers on the importance of safe manual handling and general workplace housekeeping.”
Ms Amies noted the increase in mental health injuries and said employers should pay more attention to issues such as stress, workload and conflicts.
“But we also believe this increase has been caused by a greater understanding of and societal acceptance of mental health injuries, which has meant that more and more workers are comfortable speaking up about stress and workplace bullying than ever before. And that’s a good thing.”
“However, while prevention is critical, supporting injured workers and helping them make an effective recovery from injury or illness so they can return to safe work remains a clear priority for WorkSafe,” she said.
“That we can do this, while keeping premiums low for employers and still deliver a financially sustainable compensation scheme, is a credit to the people who founded WorkCare, and to everyone who has helped improve the workers compensation scheme over the past 30 years.”
Victoria is the safest state in Australia.