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An update from WorkSafe – Interview with Clare Amies

An update from WorkSafe – Interview with Clare Amies

By Melissa Lirosi

Education Personal Injuries 

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With 2017 in full swing and lawyers back in the thick of practice we thought it timely to have a chat with Clare Amies, Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria, to find out WorkSafe’s plans for the year ahead and get an update on some of the key matters they think lawyers practising in the area should be aware of.

Could you tell us a bit about the plans for WorkSafe this year?

WorkSafe is currently developing its next long-term corporate strategy – Strategy 2030. We’re aiming to operate more efficiently and effectively, with a stronger focus on preventing injuries and illness from happening in Victorian workplaces. This is about more than just prevention of incidents and injuries; it is also about preventing further harm if an incident or an injury does happen.

Are there any upcoming matters that practitioners in this area should be aware of?

In 2017, a review of the Legal Costs Orders that apply in common law claims will be undertaken, as well as a stakeholder working group focusing on common law. The working group, which will report by September, is an important opportunity to work with a range of stakeholders to evaluate common law, its contribution to supporting workers and employers, and how to more cost effectively and efficiently deliver common law benefits.

Do you have any insights into the experiences of workers going through the claims process?

WorkSafe recently completed some independent research into the experiences of workers who have been through a common law claim. Worker responses indicated they are looking for much better support from their employer, from WorkSafe and its Agents, and from their lawyers. This support is for returning to work, and more efficiently resolving disputes. There are clearly information gaps that workers and employers need to have filled, about the common law process but also about other issues affecting workers, and about legal costs.

What has the trend been for common law applications over the last few years?

WorkSafe recently presented its half-yearly performance results, with mixed results in safety, return to work, service and sustainability (including common law). The long term trend has been for increasing common law applications, although the number was less in the last six months.

Clare will be presenting at our upcoming Personal Injury Intensive on 15 March during our Feb/March program, covering current issues in the workers compensation jurisdiction and insights into recent developments.

You might also be interested in our Employment Law Half-Day on 24 March.


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