Work place injury and ongoing issues

Remove this Banner Ad

PenfoldsFan

All Australian
Mar 4, 2015
987
1,413
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
Hawthorn, Central Districts
Apologies if this is a bit of a novel but its complex.

I have been employed in my current job for 8 months and was injured in a work place incident on 28/4, my Employer sent me in their truck to collect 30 x 100L tubs from a customer, the customer had filled the tubs with items that made the tubs extremely heavy and I injured my back. I was standing on the back of the truck and as they lifted one of the boxes up to me It was so heavy 2 people we're struggling so I bent down to help and hurt my back.
When I returned to the workplace I was told to give them the details for an incident report, the Employers OHS&W representative suggested I avoid making a Work Cover claim and said they would prefer to handle it 'in house' by way of paying me for any time off I needed, modified duties upon return and any physio/chiro that may help.
Silly me took their word on it so when I went to my GP I said don't put it through Work Cover.
It was noted on my medical file as a work injury but only given a normal sickness certificate to cover me until the 1/5.

At the time my GP was concerned about how to release me back to work as he said what they say and what they do can be very different. His concern was that due to not putting in a Work Cover claim..
1/ If he returned me on modified duties they may say we have none and stand me down on no pay until I'm fully fit'
2/If he released me to full pre injury duties they may say I'm deemed fit so no modified duties.
I said I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and asked him to release me to full pre injury duties as I was feeling much better.

When I arrived back to work on the 2/5 it became evident pretty quickly that they went with option 2, the Employer pulled me aside and said the certificate says I'm fit to work so no modified duties and followed it up with we think you're a liability and will book you in for a work capacity assessment.

I was then sent out to my pre injury duties and was booked in the following week for a work capacity assessment on the 11/5.
Unfortunately I reaggravated the injury on the 5/5 whilst in the process of lifting 15 x 13kg boxes on to a receiving platform one at a time and had to be picked up and returned to work as I couldn't drive back.
The Employer again requested an incident report and questioned whether I would be lodging a Work Cover claim now to which I replied that I'd be discussing it with my GP before making a decision.
I went to see my GP and discussed what had happened and agreed that I needed to submit a Work Cover claim only he said he couldn't back date it to include the original injury as it couldn't be confirmed that the two injuries we're the same.
I was given a Work Capacity certificate to cover me until the 13/5 and submitted a Work cover claim.

The claims agent that handled my claim arranged with my GP and Employer for me to return to work on 23/5 via a Graduated Return To Work Plan which set out the modified duties my GP had agreed upon and I was given a Work capacity certificate that just said 'Light Duties' to cover me for the period of the return to work plan. I returned on the 23/5 and worked the day without issue. Late in the day I received a call from the claims agent saying my claim was rejected, they decided the work wasn't a contributing factor in the injury as they only consider what happened when I reaggravated it and not the initial injury the week before.
Their reason for rejecting it being my BMI and said my weight caused the injury and not the action of lifting 15x 13kg boxes above chest height.

My Employer contacted me yesterday to say that as the claim had been rejected he no longer recognised the Graduated Return To Work Plan and wanted an updated Work Capacity certificate that stipulated exactly what I can and cant do. Im unable to see my GP until 30/5 as he's booked up until then.

So this brings me to my question...
Is my Employer able to stand me down under those circumstances with no pay and If my GP updates my Work capacity certificate with defined modified duties can my Employer refuse to provide me modified duties and stands me down on no pay on the grounds that Work Cover say the job didn't contribute to the injury even though it happened at work?

Thanks.
 

owen87

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
21,097
27,006
AFL Club
Essendon
Apologies if this is a bit of a novel but its complex.

I have been employed in my current job for 8 months and was injured in a work place incident on 28/4, my Employer sent me in their truck to collect 30 x 100L tubs from a customer, the customer had filled the tubs with items that made the tubs extremely heavy and I injured my back. I was standing on the back of the truck and as they lifted one of the boxes up to me It was so heavy 2 people we're struggling so I bent down to help and hurt my back.
When I returned to the workplace I was told to give them the details for an incident report, the Employers OHS&W representative suggested I avoid making a Work Cover claim and said they would prefer to handle it 'in house' by way of paying me for any time off I needed, modified duties upon return and any physio/chiro that may help.
Silly me took their word on it so when I went to my GP I said don't put it through Work Cover.
It was noted on my medical file as a work injury but only given a normal sickness certificate to cover me until the 1/5.

At the time my GP was concerned about how to release me back to work as he said what they say and what they do can be very different. His concern was that due to not putting in a Work Cover claim..
1/ If he returned me on modified duties they may say we have none and stand me down on no pay until I'm fully fit'
2/If he released me to full pre injury duties they may say I'm deemed fit so no modified duties.
I said I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and asked him to release me to full pre injury duties as I was feeling much better.

When I arrived back to work on the 2/5 it became evident pretty quickly that they went with option 2, the Employer pulled me aside and said the certificate says I'm fit to work so no modified duties and followed it up with we think you're a liability and will book you in for a work capacity assessment.

I was then sent out to my pre injury duties and was booked in the following week for a work capacity assessment on the 11/5.
Unfortunately I reaggravated the injury on the 5/5 whilst in the process of lifting 15 x 13kg boxes on to a receiving platform one at a time and had to be picked up and returned to work as I couldn't drive back.
The Employer again requested an incident report and questioned whether I would be lodging a Work Cover claim now to which I replied that I'd be discussing it with my GP before making a decision.
I went to see my GP and discussed what had happened and agreed that I needed to submit a Work Cover claim only he said he couldn't back date it to include the original injury as it couldn't be confirmed that the two injuries we're the same.
I was given a Work Capacity certificate to cover me until the 13/5 and submitted a Work cover claim.

The claims agent that handled my claim arranged with my GP and Employer for me to return to work on 23/5 via a Graduated Return To Work Plan which set out the modified duties my GP had agreed upon and I was given a Work capacity certificate that just said 'Light Duties' to cover me for the period of the return to work plan. I returned on the 23/5 and worked the day without issue. Late in the day I received a call from the claims agent saying my claim was rejected, they decided the work wasn't a contributing factor in the injury as they only consider what happened when I reaggravated it and not the initial injury the week before.
Their reason for rejecting it being my BMI and said my weight caused the injury and not the action of lifting 15x 13kg boxes above chest height.

My Employer contacted me yesterday to say that as the claim had been rejected he no longer recognised the Graduated Return To Work Plan and wanted an updated Work Capacity certificate that stipulated exactly what I can and cant do. Im unable to see my GP until 30/5 as he's booked up until then.

So this brings me to my question...
Is my Employer able to stand me down under those circumstances with no pay and If my GP updates my Work capacity certificate with defined modified duties can my Employer refuse to provide me modified duties and stands me down on no pay on the grounds that Work Cover say the job didn't contribute to the injury even though it happened at work?

Thanks.

You should probably seek proper legal advice on this one if you haven't already.
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
17,081
26,326
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Did your claim get accepted? And did you have to sit an independent medical examination to confirm liability for the claim?

As above - seek legal advice, because it is a knotty issue. If you have a good solicitor who is experienced in worker's compensation they'll likely ask you to re-submit a claim form from the date of the original injury. Sounds like your claim was rejected/terminated on the basis of the aggravation, which is technically correct, but you should really be entitled to compensation from the date of injury and that would then validate your ongoing injury - med expenses, compensation etc.

Really shady from your employer's OH&S rep - you should be provided with a claim form as soon as you sustained the injury. Likely they don't want their premium to be impacted by acceptance of the claim, and they also have to pay a once-off excess payment once the claim is approved.
 
Last edited:

Log in to remove this ad.

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad