We have recently been trolling the net looking for various injured workers’ forums and more hard evidence of the abuses and insults inflicted upon injured workers, by pretty sick workcover insurance companies and draconian workers compensation laws. While we found many “hidden” such forums, packed with horrible stories from ill-treated injured workers; we have also found a number of extremely disturbing forum posts and comments from ignorant, brain-washed, pea-brained and/or biased, ahum, individuals, making faulty and, frankly, dangerous assumptions and comments about what “motivates” injured workers: cheating the system and malingering in order to get a “free ride” or permanent “welfare payments”.
A couple of days ago a bright injured worker came up with the great idea of starting a topic in our public forum about Sensible Ideas for WorkCover Reform(s). The thread has been read 122 times – surely showing interest- and we believe it is indeed high time to be a little different and to brainstorm what you believe would work better both for injured workers and governments! Join the debate, inject your ideas!
Workcover reform – sensible ideas debate
If you are in a position to see where something is going so wrong, you are also in a position to see what might work better, wrote the injured worker.
For example: Everyone knows the blow out costs of workcover to the tax payer. And we as workers see it being poured down the drain in all kinds of ways.
Lets help them see where its going wrong so they can put together something that goes right.
What injured workers have contributed so far
- Employers have to provide a medically suitable duties (which often doesn’t happen). The law for that is already in place, however, if the employer does not provide suitable duties , its not illegal, its non-compliance, and they may or may not be fined. Its a “who’s your mates” system. Change the system to enforce those laws. Make those fines set, the same as a speeding fine.
- Throw out the government scheme/insurance altogether – We would carry our own insurance and if things happen, our insurance company (not the person who is damn well hurt already) goes head to head at the workplace’s insurer.They battle it out. Not us. Here’s how it would work. On your first day at work you give the insurance details to your employer, the same as you do with your super fund. We aren’t allowed to put a car on the road without Third Party (user pays) and yer we can go to work and get our arse whooped by THE WORKPLACES INSURANCE COMPANY (because that’s what workcover is) or fork out for million dollar lawyers to fight them. If we both had an insurer (or were allowed to) then just like a car accident, its investigated, percentage of blame is apportioned, laws are applied, and BOTH insurers battle it out. In the mean time, we get to decent doctors, who are not being harassed and battered by our workplaces insurer, but are being paid by our own insurer. Our own insurer (like any other insurance) keeps an eye out for frauds. But looks after their good ones. And tears the throats out of the other insurer if they can. THEY FIGHT EACH OTHER instead of injured workers being beaten up. Nothing the govt runs ever goes right. Throw it the hell out and let both workers and employers be insured like any other normal situation. And if the employers know WE ALSO have an insurer, then we remove the situation where people need to hire blood sucking lawyers to bleed every cent out of the system they can.
- This is my vision on how things should be done !!!Firstly workcover should be run by previously injured workers and there should be one set of laws nation wide instead of different laws for different states. They should be able to combine their efforts with no jurisdictions to achieve desired results. Workcover should be given the power to enter any business at any time without notice and any non compliance results in a 72 hour shut down with full entitlements to employees following a six figure fine and be visited on a weekly bases for 12 months at their expense.A company that is in breach of the laws should not be given X amount of time to correct the breach but be fined on the spot. Reoccurring breaches for the same thing will be fined x2, x3 then a 72 hour shut down with full entitlements to employees and weekly inspections for 6 months at the companies expense plus a six figure fine. Accidents do happen but any company with a injury rate over a certain amount per year should be fully investigated and fined to the full extant of any findings.Now for the most important thing of all. This includes all insurance companies.
- My idea is sort of a reconstruction of workcover as even with the private insurance there still needs to be something in place to enforce the laws. We all know workcover don’t do a very good job as it is now, so to re-structure it from the ground up and really enforce the laws would most certainly show a decline in the injury numbers.
- You said “Accidents do happen but any company with a injury rate over a certain amount per year should be fully investigated”
That’s part of the problem I think. That’s why workers are bullied and threatened with all kinds of nasty horrendous things for contacting workcover. NO REPORT (and no record it ever happened) means the workplace pays less.
IT ENCOURAGES THEM to intimidate workers into not reporting or not seeking medical attention (hey I know that one first hand) so they pay less themselves.
No I think there needs to be the INCENTIVE to screw people over, removed.
Right now its worker vs workplace, then worker vs worplaces insurer
If there was an incident or injury and the worker contacted his or her OWN insurer, then they dont really want a claim either and WILL investigate it. If they can see there was an insurable incident, either they have to pay or the employers insurer does.
Spot checks should be done like drivers license checks. We have computers. Any workplace whose insurance has lapsed, gets red flagged and fined big time, on the day, but leave the ones paying their bills alone. Not all employers are arseholes.
What I am hearing all over the place is so may workplaces just don’t pay the WC levy, for years. How the hell they get away with it? Show me anything the govt does that actually works. They bully and bluff workers, threaten with sacking, or sack, then only when a worker goes direct to workcover (and gets hell for it) does WC realise it, and then only kinda maybe well sort of fine them, a bit, perhaps.
So there it is again, there is a very real incentive to NOT BE INSURED. Save heaps of money and get a slap on the wrist and a bag of lollies for having scammed the taxpayer and its workers all those years.
There needs to be financial incentives for people to do the right thing, not the wrong thing.
How about instead of workcover maybe fines and extra levies, the workplace gets into the real world. If they have a high claims record NOBODY WILL INSURE THEM! They cant get insurance. And without insurance kiss your business goodbye. Shut the doors. No license to drive (run a business) without insurance.
Ok so now we still have the problem of govt workers and other big outfits that self insure. STILL the poor bloody worker (without a million dollar lawyer that is going to cost the tax payer big payouts that go straight to the lawyers anyway) ends up battling the employers lawyers again.
This would not happen if the workers themselves carried sickness and accident insurance.
On all counts, we get screwed because we don’t know the ropes, and don’t have clout and we don’t have insurance.
Workcover is NOT the workers insurance, its the employers insurance.
Does it make sense now why we are getting hounded, destroyed, threatened and denied the medical treatment we need?
Workcover is working for other side. And always will be. They are the other party’s insurance company.
Fancy hitting a Merc with your Holden Astra (or the Merc hitting you). They have insurance. You don’t.
Whats the outcome going to be? They got the insurance companies lawyers on hand. They get their merc fixed. The insurer hounds you to hell, sniffs out any assets, maybe puts a lien against your assets, maybe sends you bills.
You jump up and down and say but he hit me! It doesnt matter. HE had an insurance company. You didn’t. His car got fixed and he walked away. The hassle is coming from his insurer. And you don’t know the legal ropes. (sounding familiar?)
Now rethink it. Whats the scenario if you also had insurance?
You wont have to pay for his car, or yours. Your car gets fixed. If you were at fault your own premiums or excesses go up. But go down again over time if you don’t have more accidents.
But you don’t get the “they were insured and you were not” treatment.
- Lets say there was a reform of workcover and it still was government funded but run independently under close watch of the government. lets say every injury was investigated and the employer is given changes that must be made to reduce the risk of re-occurrence and issued fines for any breach of the laws. Any money gained from fines and such would result in the government having to give less funding the following year. I think that would give the government the incentive to push the issue for this new reform to get off their butts and get out and do their job….
- Good that we have this being discussed and there are injured workers sincerely wanting a good system with good outcomes.
We all really do need to come together on this one and come up with a solution to the current problems with the system as it stands, writes an injured worker, and we could not agree more.
There is nothing any of us can do to turn back the clock on our injuries but we can change the future for our children and our children’s children. When that happens and only then we all just might feel our sacrifices has not been for nothing.
This post is dedicated to “Dave 2305” with love 😉
Can you believe it’s been months since I last did a “funny”. Well, given the amount of pain I am in and the – frankly- ridiculous situation I find myself in, I woke up overnight deciding that I was going to implement a “Silly Sunday” on our blog! Yikes! Time to get back in the game. Life is too shitty for many injured workers to go without giggles.
Silly Sunday – injured workers need a good laugh
As some of you may be aware I have end stage rotator cuff failure and end stage traumatic osteoarthritis in my dominant shoulder, after seven or eight major [I have lost track], failed, shoulder reconstructions. I am in severe, debilitating pain and cornered between a rock and a hard place as I need a reverse shoulder prosthesis but, because I have suffered two near fatal heart failures during two shoulder surgeries, and they don’t really know what is causing this, my surgeon, cardiologist and anesthetist are reluctant to “put me to sleep” for the reverse joint replacement surgery (and the subsequent, necessary surgical revisions). I am having a damn hard time coping… and let’s not even mention the difficulties I have with my workcover insurer obtaining basic and legit entitlements such as home help…
So, in order to keep my sanity, and inspired by some of the hilarious stuff that goes on on our injured workers’ forum (courtesy of mainly Johnny Boy and Tezza ;)) I feel that there is a need for good laugh, at least on a weekly basis, for injured workers! It has proven very beneficial for me, and I am sure for many fellow injured sods… and so
Quite a few seriously injured workers, both male and female, have serious “issues” with sex… so, let’s have a good laugh about this -painful – reality:
Joke for wife of injured worker
A man walks into his bedroom and sees his wife packing a suitcase. He asks, “What are you doing?”
She answers, “I’m moving to Sydney. I heard prostitutes there get paid $400 for doing what I do for you for free.”
When she asks him where he’s going, he replies, “I’m coming too, I want to see how you live on $800 a year”.
Three Parrots down the chute…
The “rudest” joke – called “the beginning of logic” – has been posted on our forum – dedicated to Johnny Boy and Tezza 😉
I am totally over it after three years of this workcover circus of a system.
I was injured at work and went through hell to get the appropriate treatment which consisted of major back surgery. When I was finally allowed to have the surgery by Allianz, my surgeon told me they waited to long and that the surgery was not going to be of much help anymore.
I am now suffering the consequences of their immoral delays and my doctors have put me off of work for the foreseeable future.
The insurance company sent me to an IME surgeon and he said I am unfit for all work. My employer then terminated my permanent position.
This caused me to slip into a major depression and I tried to kill myself.
Then the insurance company sent me again to another IME, this one, a very old man (must have been 80) wrote that I can do “light office duties, part time” and since then the insurance company has assigned me a vocational rehab person who tells me every week that I am not trying hard enough to find a job and that I have to get a job within 3 weeks otherwise they will cut me off benefits.
Last week this vocational man told me that he had even people with no arms can work as they can hold a pen in their mouth!
But my own treaters refuse to issue a certificate of capacity, even with restrictions, it does’nt make any sense to me that Allianz forces me to look for a job and work based on one senile IME.
How on earth can they get away with harassing me on a weekly basis? They say they will stop my weekly payments in three week’s time regardless whether or not I have a job by then.
Do you have advice for “injured”? Post here or better yet, visit our forum to respond to “injured” here: http://workcovervictimsdiary.com/forum/index.php?topic=16.msg21#new