|The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) is the manager of Victoria's workplace safety system. Broadly, the responsibilities of the organisation are to:|
help avoid workplace injuries occurring
enforce Victoria's occupational health and safety laws
provide reasonably priced insurance for employers
help injured workers back into the workforce
manage the workers' compensation scheme by ensuring the prompt delivery of appropriate services and adopting prudent financial practices
The VWA's statutory obligations are spelt out in several Acts of Parliament. These include:
health, safety and welfare in the workplace under the Occupational Health & Safety Act 1985
workers' compensation and the rehabilitation of injured workers under the Accident Compensation Act 1985 and the Accident Compensation (WorkCover Insurance) Act 1993
employer insurance and premium under the Accident Compensation (WorkCover Insurance) Act 1993
explosives and other dangerous goods under the Dangerous Goods Act 1995
the transport of dangerous goods by road under the Road Transport Reform (Dangerous Goods) Act 1995
high-risk equipment used in public places and on private premises under the Equipment (Public Safety) Act 1994.
Preventing injuries and illness
WorkSafe Victoria, the VWA's occupational health and safety arm, takes the lead role in the promotion and enforcement of health and safety in Victorian workplaces. WorkSafe has a team of more than 450 field officers, investigators, work-site technical experts and support staff spread throughout a network of city, suburban and regional offices.
The WorkSafe team is responsible for improving workplace safety through implementing the organisation's comprehensive constructive compliance strategy which focuses on information and education, incentives, enforcement, investigations, prosecutions and penalties.
In general, the type of enforcement action taken by WorkSafe Victoria follows assessment of the situation and consideration of the following factors:
extent of the risk
seriousness of the perceived breach and the actual or potential consequences
whether or not the situation or hazard type is targeted by WorkSafe Victoria for priority prevention activity
impact of the regulatory action, especially its impact on encouragement and deterrence
compliance history of the employer, and
whether or not the incident of non-compliance is of considerable public concern
No fault benefits
The VWA provides a range of benefits to injured workers, for life if required, regardless of who was at fault. Benefits include:
medical and paramedical treatment
attendant care, home help and child minding, and
lump sum and additional weekly payments.
Where death occurs as a result of a work-related injury or illness, support is provided for dependants in the form of lump sum and periodic income replacement payments, child minding and home help, counselling for immediate family members and funeral expenses.
VWA benefits are indexed in accordance with Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) or the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Common law benefits
In addition to no-fault benefits, a person who is seriously injured in the workplace and can prove fault is entitled to pursue a claim for further compensation through the court system.
Common law damages are payable for pecuniary loss up to $870,400, and pain and suffering up to $378,950 and can be recovered by the dependants of a deceased worker, up to a maximum of $574,200. All these benefits are indexed annually with the CPI.
Victoria's workers' compensation scheme is administered on behalf of the VWA by a number of WorkCover Agents. Agents are currently responsible for a range of tasks including premium collection, claim lodgement, and the delivery of benefits and rehabilitation.