Injury settlement costs employers an average $1100 per employee each year, but organisations can significantly reduce injuries – and ample compo bills – with “affordable” preemployment assessments and a “committed medical network”, Says Andrew Northcott
“Preemployment functional assessments are a must,”. Employers must also provide complete OHS policies, and a “committed medical network” to deal with injuries after they happen.
This entails identifying the finest workers’ compensation physicians in the place, and then marketing them to employees.
Northcott says that physical and practical assessments, which cost as little as $70 per candidate or worker, are an “easy to manage and affordable” means of ensuring individuals are “physically effective at managing job demands”.
“Effective screening may help employers recognise and manage workplace dangers, and identify appropriate jobs to match a worker’s physical capacities,” he says.
But where stress claims and repetitive strain injuries are on the upswing, even in more sedentary jobs, he says, a fundamental practical assessment will help save money on recruiting, sick leave, overtime and insurance premiums.
Take action to avoid discrimination claims
In line with the NSW AntiDiscrimination Board, many employers typically use preemployment functional assessments within their choice procedures, however they have to take action to make certain they aren’t exposed to discrimination claims.
“Where it is crucial to test for particular characteristics it is best to only test individuals who fulfill all the other demands of the occupation,” the AntiDiscrimination Board
“This isn’t a legal requirement but it’s more economical and protects employers from allegations of discrimination to the ground of handicap.”
In more physical jobs, routine medical testing may be required to ensure employees continue to fulfill conditions and aren’t at danger of harm, the Board says, but “it is essential that employees in this kind of occupation are tested and that age isn’t a factor in determining who is tested”.
Employers may even be liable for discrimination if they:
- use pre-employment functional assessments within the preinterview culling process; and
- ask questions in the interview period about previous injuries or workers’ compensation claims.
- They might even be liable under privacy laws when they reveal appraisal results to other individuals, including workers.
The primary attributes of the non-discriminatory medical test, the Board says, are:
- the evaluation relates particularly towards the special obligations/obligations of the occupation;
- the essential characteristics are correctly identified and reasonable in most conditions;
- all avenues for accommodating individuals without these characteristics happen to be considered;
- the evaluation just assesses current skill and doesn’t try to call any future deterioration.