Restorative Justice Practices WorkSafe
The CIJ has been engaged by WorkSafe to identify opportunities to use restorative justice practices for injured workers in WorkSafe's claims and enforcement processes.
This project has identified opportunities to use restorative justice conferencing with the aim to repair or heal harm already caused to the injured worker and avoid any potential harm that might arise as a result of claims or enforcement processes.
Figures from WorkSafe show that although roughly 80 per cent of workplace injury claims are dealt with swiftly and to the satisfaction of the claimants, the other 20 per cent remain in the system and involve claimants with protracted physical and mental injuries. In some cases, the injured worker’s experience of the process impedes recovery or exacerbates their injuries.
This project has developed a model for addressing this issue by bringing together injured workers and their employers or former employers in a controlled environment to acknowledge any harm caused to workers, facilitate apologies, and discuss what happened and why.
The project has included:
- The development of a map representing the injured worker’s experience, at a high level, through the enforcement and claims process, with a view to better understanding opportunities for change and potential use of restorative justice practices;
- An end-to-end review of the enforcement and dispute processes with recommendations for change and opportunities;
- A report that identifies opportunities for restorative justice conferencing to complement the enforcement and claims processes.
This project also responds to the Victorian Ombudsman’s recommendation that a review be conducted of the current dispute resolution model for workers compensation, in particular the process following unsuccessful conciliation, to ensure the model is fair and timely.
WorkSafe is currently considering the Centre for Innovative Justice’s advice.
For further information on this project contact Stan Winford.