The following statistical reports analyse aspects of the Western Australian workers’ compensation and injury management scheme to offer insight into the health and viability of the scheme.

For more information about our research and evaluation publications or to request previous statistical reports, please contact us.

This actuarial report measures trends and changes in relation to key elements of the WA workers’ compensation scheme including claim numbers, claim finalisation rates, payments per claim incurred and average case estimates. The report is prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which provides actuarial services to WorkCover WA.

This quarterly report measures trends and changes in relation to key elements of the WA workers’ compensation scheme including claim numbers, claim payments, estimated costs, claim management and dispute and common law applications, with a comparison of approved insurer and self-insurers.

This quarterly report provides a summary of elements relating to claimants exiting the scheme. It presents trends and characteristics of finalised claims over the last ten years.

This quarterly report monitors claim activity and measures claim management performance of approved insurers operating within the WA workers’ compensation scheme and the Insurance Commission of Western Australia.

This annual report details all payments associated with medical, allied health and workplace rehabilitation services provided within the WA workers’ compensation scheme. The report includes indicators of numbers of services, payments associated with services, average payments per service, average services per claim and average payments per claim.

This annual report is based on claims statistics from the WA workers’ compensation scheme from 2013/14 to 2015/16. It provides a three-year average of industry benchmarks that can be used for evaluation of injury management and prevention efforts of organisations.

This biannual report presents descriptive information on key activity within the Conciliation and Arbitration Services.

In November 2011, the Government implemented changes to the workers’ compensation dispute resolution arrangements in Western Australia, establishing the new Conciliation and Arbitration Services and WorkCover WA.

During the 2011 Parliamentary debate on the amendments, the then Minister for Commerce, Hon. Simon O’Brien, gave an undertaking that the new Workers’ Compensation Conciliation and Arbitration Services would be reviewed.

In December 2015 after four years of operation of the new services, WorkCover WA contracted Professor Tania Sourdin, of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation at Monash University, to undertake an independent review.

Professor Sourdin found the Western Australian Workers’ Compensation and Arbitration Services are generally considered by stakeholders to work well, and, when compared with other workers’ compensation schemes in Australia, provide dispute resolution that is timely, cost effective, fair and accessible.

Professor Sourdin identified some improvement opportunities for the Conciliation and Arbitration Services, and WorkCover WA is already implementing many of these.

The Report makes a number of recommendations regarding access to Conciliation and Arbitration services. In response, WorkCover WA will pilot a cost effective videoconferencing system in the next financial year, providing opportunities for parties outside the metropolitan area to participate in conciliation conferences and arbitration hearings without the need to travel to Perth.

Professor Sourdin’s Report provides some useful recommendations to improve the experiences of those attending the Conciliation Service, particularly in relation to building understanding of the conciliation process on the part of those participating. WorkCover WA already has a range of information available to participants, and is working to further develop its conciliation model.

One of the principal drivers of the 2011 amendments was stakeholder concern about the length of time taken to resolve disputes as well as the costs for parties. A particular focus of Professor Sourdin’s report is then the extent to which the new services are timely and cost effective.

Professor Sourdin reports that the dispute resolution services at WorkCover WA is relatively low cost and is effective in managing, settling and finalising disputes. She also identified that conciliation occurs in a timely manner, with 96 percent of conciliations completed with eight weeks.

In relation to arbitration, Professor Sourdin found while the majority of arbitration matters are dealt with quickly, the time taken can be too long in a small number of the matters which proceed to final determination.

WorkCover WA is undertaking further work to understand how to mitigate this and a number of suggestions are made by Professor Sourdin. Important amongst these is the establishment of performance protocols for arbitrators, supported by a range of other changes (some of which would likely require amendment of the Arbitration Rules or the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act. This also provides an important opportunity to engage with the District Court to explore expectations and requirements in relation to written reasons for decision.

Importantly Professor Sourdin notes that simply increasing the numbers of arbitrators will not necessarily lead to any significant improvements in timeliness, as the reasons for delay are predominantly outside the control of the Arbitration Service itself.

Professor Sourdin’s Report was considered by the WorkCover WA Board in May 2016.

This annual report provides an analysis of long duration claims (defined as workers’ compensation claims which involve an injured worker having 60 or more days/shifts off work) within the WA workers’ compensation scheme. Information is reported at three levels: overall scheme, claimant characteristics and injury attributes.

In July 2010, WorkCover WA commissioned an independent survey to measure the extent to which the Western Australian workers’ compensation scheme is meeting the needs of injured workers.

The purpose of the survey was to obtain information about:

  • satisfaction with services provided throughout the Western Australian workers’ compensation scheme
  • return to work outcomes.

Participation and controls

A total of 704 workers who had lodged a workers’ compensation claim between 1 October and 31 December 2009 participated in the telephone survey.

Participants were asked about several key areas including:

  • overall experience being on workers’ compensation
  • overall satisfaction with insurance services
  • return to work experience
  • general work and claim status
  • heath and healthcare services
  • return to work support and rehabilitation
  • return to work status.

Results

Overall results from the survey are positive and indicate that the Western Australian workers’ compensation scheme is successfully supporting individuals to return to work and reducing the social and economic impact of work-related injury and illness.

However, the survey has also highlighted areas requiring further attention from WorkCover WA. WorkCover WA is committed to continuous improvement of the scheme to ensure that it is fair and accessible for all workers.

In September 2011, WorkCover WA commissioned an independent survey to measure the extent to which Western Australian employers are aware of their workers’ compensation and injury management obligations.

The primary focus of the 2011 Employer Survey was to obtain information about:

  • employers’ awareness of their responsibilities under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981

Participation and controls

A total of 816 employers were surveyed in September 2011. Of these, 53 per cent had managed one or more workers’ compensation claims in the past two years. The majority of employers (87 per cent) had been in business for six years or more and medium size employers (defined as 20 or more employees) represented 43 per cent of the survey population.

Participants were asked about several key areas, including:

  • compliance with workers’ compensation insurance legislation
  • satisfaction with insurance brokers and insurers in assisting selection of appropriate workers’ compensation insurance
  • knowledge of injury management
  • overall perceptions of workers’ compensation.

Results

Overall survey results are positive, particularly in relation to compliance with the requirement for employers to hold a current workers’ compensation policy and satisfaction with insurer and insurance broker services.

Results in relation to WorkCover WA’s performance is also positive, although some areas were identified for further development by WorkCover WA during 2012.