Limiting Liability For Workers’ Compensation Claims

sample contract

Does your organisation require a successful job applicant to attend a medical before starting on the job?

Does your organisation ask the successful job applicant to complete a written or electronic survey in which one of the questions is, ‘Do you have any injury or illness that the organisation should know about and consider in order to assist you to perform your role safely (including such things as offering relevant training or possible task modification)?’

Consider why both approaches could be useful to the organisation in light of the following…

  • Section 9A of the NSW Workers’ Compensation Act allows for compensation to be awarded to a worker where the employment concerned was a substantial contributing factor to the injury (even if there are multiple substantial contributing factors to the occurrence, exacerbation or acceleration of the injury); and
  • Section 15 of the NSW Workers’ Compensation Act states that if an injury is a disease contracted by a gradual process then “compensation is payable by the employer who last employed the worker in employment to the nature of which the disease was due.”

Actions to limit workers’compensation claims

Given the Act (and its purpose) AND particularly these two clauses, an employer should take all reasonable and practicable steps to:

  1. Provide a safe workplace for all workers; and
  2. Tailor tasks/processes/situations etc. to specific workers with past or existing injuries or diseases in order to eliminate or minimise (as far as reasonably practicable) any recurrence, exacerbation or acceleration of such an injury or disease.

Achieving part 2, is not possible without relevant individual information and there is no better place to start than getting it right – right at the beginning of a worker’s employment contract.

Workplace Conflict Resolution can assist to ensure you have the right policies and procedures in place.  Contact us for more information about our services.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.