New Honan report unveils costliest workplace injuries in Australia

New Honan report unveils costliest workplace injuries in Australia | Insurance Business Australia

New Honan report unveils costliest workplace injuries in Australia

Injured joints have been the costliest workplace injury in Australia over the last 10 years, according to a new report by Honan Insurance Group (Honan) and its subsidiary Risksmart.

The report – based on a public liability database built by Risksmart over the last 10 years that now includes over 15,000 incidents and almost 4,000 claims – examined the impacts of the average cost of injury insurance claims and advice on how businesses can prevent the costliest injuries.

Injured joints ranked first among the costliest workplace injuries in Australia, incurring an average claims cost of $3,503.72, 88.42% higher than the average claims cost of injuries to soft tissues or non-joint areas of the body ($1,859.43).

Specifically, injuries to the shoulder, head, and back led to the costliest claims based on the top 10 costliest injuries by specific body part:

  1. Shoulder: $11,412.29 with 15.52% claims above $100,000;
  2. Head: $6,714.88 with 20.00% claims above $100,000; and
  3. Back (lower and upper): $5,685.07 with 12.50% claims above $100,000.

The rest of the costliest injuries by specific body part were:

  1. Arm: $5,424.72 with 17.39% claims above $100,000;
  2. Back (lower): $5,186.61 with 21.21% claims above $100,000;
  3. Lower leg: $5,016.09 with 14.81% claims above $100,000;
  4. Back (upper): $4,579.65 with 20.00% claims above $100,000;
  5. Knee: $3,508.08 with 13.76% claims above $100,000;
  6. Elbow: $3,386.65 with 17.39% claims above $100,000; and
  7. Hip: $2,854.20 with 5.13% claims above $100,000.

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Maja Vujinovic, head of Risksmart, advised organisations to implement a cleaning rotation program to find and clean spillages before they cause an accident and increase defence prospects if an incident occurs.

“Rotations should take place every 20 minutes and ideally should be substantiated by CCTV or documentation,” Vujinovic said.

On maintenance, Vujinovic advised organisations to ensure every machine that employees work with, or the clients are exposed to, is maintained adequately: “For example, commercial freezers and air conditioning units can leak if their draining pipes are clogged or if their seams are not aligned. Even simple shelving light fixtures can cause electrocution if they are incorrectly installed or maintained.”

Other tips included:

  • Store floor design

“While organising or reorganising a store floor plan, imagine you are a customer who has never been to the store. Now, imagine you are a customer who is distracted, maybe on your phone. It’s important to think about the hidden hazards – you would be surprised at how many people walk into floor-to-ceiling mirrors,” Vujinovic said.

  • Prioritising areas of focus

“Some areas are more essential than others. For example, an incident in the weights area in a gym is more likely than an incident in the entrance, while at the supermarket, the riskiest areas are where slimy spillages are most likely to occur, such as the fruit and veg section,” Vujinovic said.

  • Weather conditions 

“Rain is a major contributor to injuries and incidents. If the weather is wet, pay even more attention to the risks your customers face. For example, risks can be limited by using umbrella bagging machines at the entrance,” Vujinovic said.