What types of injuries does workers’ compensation cover?

If you’ve been injured at work, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation to replace your income while you’re away from work and to pay for any medical treatment and rehabilitation required.

Work injuries can come in many different forms. The types of injuries covered by workers compensation can be both physical and psychological. In this article, we take a look at some of the most common types of claims including body stress and back injury compensation, compensation for falls, slips and trips, cumulative trauma injuries compensation, and compensation for mental stress and illness.

Workers’ compensation statistics in Australia

Safe Work Australia publishes an annual report, which provides statistics about injuries and workers’ compensation claims in Australia. According to the latest report, the vast majority of cases for serious claims were due to physical injury and musculoskeletal disorders (91%), while diseases, including mental illness, made up the remaining claims.

Body stress and back injury compensation

Injuries caused by stresses to the body account for around 40% of all workers’ compensation claims, making it the most common type of work-related injury in Australia. Body stress injuries can occur while lifting or carrying heavy objects. Back injury compensation claims are a common example of this sort of injury.

Cumulative trauma injuries can occur to parts of the body that are subjected to repetitive motion over long periods of time through gradual wear and tear.

Injuries to muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons can be avoided by proper risk assessment, staff training and diligent supervision in the workplace. More information on managing manual handling risks can be found here.

Falls, slips and trips

Injuries caused by falls, slips and trips are the second most common reason for workers’ compensation claims, accounting for 23% of claims in Australia. Slips, trips and falls are usually preventable accidents that can be minimised by a thorough risk assessment in the workplace, along with the introduction of appropriate measures to deal with the risks. Examples of safety measures that may be considered in a risk assessment include:

  • Measures required to deal with slippery surfaces after rain or liquid spills
  • Measures to improve the design and maintenance of walkways
  • Improvements to lighting over walkways and stairs
  • Appropriate storage of materials to avoid clutter and the creation of trip hazards

More information on managing the risk of slips, trips and falls can be found here.

Mental stress and illness

Claims for mental stress and psychological injuries suffered at work are less common, accounting for only 6% of all workers’ compensation claims. Mental illness at work can take many forms, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. These injuries can be caused by a number of different reasons, including workplace bullying, witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, violence and sexual harassment. For more information on mental illness and treatment, visit the Black Dog Institute’s website here.

Other types of work injuries

Other common types of work injuries include:

  • Exposure to chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Injuries caused by heat and electricity
  • Exposure to bacteria and viruses, leading to disease
  • Injuries caused by sound and pressure

How to make a workers’ compensation claim

If you become injured at work, you should notify your employer as soon as possible. Making a workplace injury report is the first step to making a workers’ compensation claim. You’ll then need to visit a doctor to receive a workers’ compensation certificate of incapacity. The form should be sent to the insurer within seven days.

Once the insurer has been notified, they have 21 days to respond. In the meantime, they may commence provisional payments for loss of income and medical treatment.

Speak to a senior workers’ compensation lawyer

If you’ve been injured at work and need to speak to an experienced work injury lawyer, our friendly team at NSW Compensation Lawyers will be able to give you the right advice on what to do. Call us today on (02) 9601 0088.

See how we can help you

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