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Wednesday, 17 April 1985
Page: 1338

(Question No. 302)

Mr Ronald Edwards asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 21 March 1985:

(1) How many compensation claims for repetitive strain injury were received by the Minister's Department and statutory authorities under his control in (a) 1983-84 and (b) 1984-85 to 20 March 1985.

(2) What is the analysis of these claims giving details of sex, type of duties performed and the number of claims accepted, rejected and finalised.

(3) How many employees are considered to have been successfully rehabilitated, and what steps were taken to achieve rehabilitation.

(4) What steps are being taken to prevent this type of injury.

Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) 9; (b) 39.

(2) Details of sex are 47 female, 1 male. Types of duty performed-43 Keyboard, 5 Clerical. Number of claims accepted 33. Number of claims rejected 1. Number of claims finalised 34.

(3) 8 employees are considered to have been successfully rehabilitated.

Steps in rehabilitation included:

Sick leave while undergoing treatment.

Counselling on preventive measures against possible recurrence of RSI.

Replacement of furniture, where advisable, with ergonomically designed work stations.

Temporary re-deployment to other duties, if medically recommended.

(4) Steps being taken to prevent this type of injury include:

Development of departmental policies on the prevention of RSI and the management of RSI cases, including introduction of rest breaks and the designation of an RSI Liaison Officer to counsel staff.

Hiring of professional physiotherapist/ergonomist to give advice and run training courses for keyboard staff and to raise, among supervisors, the level of awareness of RSI and its causes. The courses are designed to help staff identify the initial symptoms of RSI, and emphasise the importance of taking regular rest breaks and of proper posture for keyboard operators.

The provision of ergonomic furniture and other equipment aides.