Is it time for a $2.00 poster?
It has been a hectic week of meetings and end of year dinners and just keeping up with the ever-growing population at Craig’s Table, there were also 2 birthdays to celebrate along with the arrival of our native beehive. There is also the exciting anticipation of waiting for the new hens to start to lay eggs, the signs are good that the 8 new hens will be in-lay soon enough.
Two things stand out the most from this last week, two things that go to the dire and long overdue need to remove so much of the bureaucratic nonsense that has come into place over the last few years.
The need for simple basic information about the rights and responsibilities of the employer and the employee long before there is a workplace incident.
Simple information of what to do, where to go for assistance and who does what.
Many years back I was involved in a project that created a wall poster that held such information- it was nothing complex, it had all the baseline information, it had the contact details for the various help points.
This poster was rolled out to countless workplaces, it could be found in lunch rooms, behind the toilet doors, it could be found in general meeting areas and it could be found in the reception areas of workplaces.
The poster gave general dot points that stopped many issues from becoming over-blown or out of control.
Each poster cost around $2.00 to generate, it is impossible though to guesstimate the reduction of out of containment costs post workplace incident.
The reason I have been thinking about this poster again this week comes from an email I received from someone who didn’t need me to do anything other than listen.
Quote “I feel like I have been skinned alive”
The person who wrote this was injured in the workplace and instead of the employer understanding what had happened and being supportive of a long-term employee, the employer went into denial mode which has caused a complete breakdown of the workplace family support that what this person was not just expecting but relying on to be in place.
The hardest part for this particular person is the business forms a part of the allied health industry, so it was a shock to the person as to how poorly the employer engaged and the amount of denial and blame that was put in place.
However tragically the way this person was treated is commonplace for far too many workers compensation claimants. Non-payments of legislated entitlements, bad news being sent in the dying stages of the week (after 4pm on Friday) so that the recipient has the entire weekend to stress over what needs to be done. No answering of phone calls or return of emails over extended periods of time, all of it adds to the anxiety levels that are already in far too many situations maxed out leading to panic attacks and emotional breakdowns, all of it adding to the high cortisol level in the person body leading to the heightened fear fight or flight response.
So many people I work with are fearful of upsetting their case manager because the case managers have the “perceived” power of overall control to deny what is the legal rights of the claimants- 1 person has over $10,000 of outstanding travel claims to lodge but is fearful to lodge the claim for fear the case manager will be upset and deny the reimbursement; others struggle to pay their medication costs, not knowing that it is possible for the case manager to set up a chemist account.
Others simply are too fearful to ask what their rights and responsibilities are so they engage a legal practitioner to do what they could easily do themselves if they have the required information.
Workers compensation is a multi-billion-dollar industry here in Australia, so much of the uncontrolled costs could easily be reduced and in many instances removed if the basic information was in place.
As I sit here this afternoon writing this, I cannot help but wonder if the return of a $2 poster is the best way forward.
Yours in service