There are 73 per cent more workplace injury claims in the Orange area than the state average according to a NSW government insurance and care provider, icare.
icare Health & Community Engagement general manager Eugene McGarrell said the injured employees took an average 26 days to return to work.
“Last year, over 400 people were injured in workplaces in Orange, representing 26 claims per 1000 employees,” Mr McGarrell said.
“However, in some cases, people were unable to return to work for more than three months.
“The longer people are away from work, the greater their risk of social isolation and the likelihood of the onset of further mental health issues, which can delay recovery.”
To find solutions to this isolation, Mr McGarrell said icare will run a public workshop at Orange Ex-Services’ Club on Wednesday, May 9, where it will share research gathered through its ufirst initiative.
“Community organisations and local businesses have a key role in creating the right environment for individuals to connect to work and the community,” Mr McGarrell said.
Injured Workers Support Network Orange convener Joe Maric said injured workers were limited in what they could do by their injuries and said he would prefer icare to help injured people who were taken off workers’ compensation early.
“The real problem here is people can only be on workers’ compensation for a certain amount of time before they get kicked off, when they do get kicked off there’s no where to go but Centrelink,” Mr Maric said.
Although he couldn’t say why Orange was higher than the rest of the state, Mr Maric said changes made to workers’ compensation in 2012 and to work health and safety (WHS) have led to more workplace injuries and said they onus for safety had been taken off the employer.
To register for the event visit https://orange-deep-dive.eventbrite.com.au.