WorkCover to increase insurance audits

SMALL businesses in regional Queensland are more likely to be under-insured or uninsured according to WorkCover.

The Queensland Government statutory body conducted an audit of 650 Queensland businesses and found last year uninsured businesses made about 260 claims costing the scheme about $6.5 million.

The audit found about 15% of employers did not declare superannuation as part of their assessable wages, 8% failed to declare wages paid to contractors, and 3% were uninsured.

According to a WorkCover spokesman the number of uninsured and underinsured businesses increases in regional and rural parts of the state.

WorkCover Queensland CEO Tony Hawkins said although most businesses do the right thing and have an accident insurance policy with the correct premium, non-compliance remains a concern.

"Any Queensland business who employs a worker is breaking the law if they don't have a WorkCover Accident Insurance policy," he said.

He encouraged employers to contact WorkCover if their obligations were confusing.

"It's never too late to start complying and doing so can reduce the costs should a worker be injured."

Mr Hawkins said WorkCover Queensland planned on doing more employer compliance audits this year.

"Uninsured employers who lodge WorkCover claims will be held to account. These businesses will be subject to significant financial penalties, including the cost of the claim which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe injuries," he said.

Last year, WorkCover visited 2300 Queensland businesses from the construction, agriculture, manufacturing, retail and racing sectors to educate employers on worker insurance. - ARM NEWSDESK

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