National Workers Compensation Newsletter

10 September 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of the HWL Ebsworth National Workers Compensation Bulletin.

We are delighted to bring you a series of articles reflecting recent developments across Australia.

We trust you will find this edition of our Bulletin helpful and informative.

Should you wish to discuss any of these articles in any more detail, please contact any of our partners.

Federal Vaccine Compensation Scheme

The Federal Government has established a COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme to reimburse those who sustain moderate to significant impact following an adverse reaction to a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved COVID-19 vaccines (including but not limited to Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Novavax).

To find out more, click here.

Climate Change and Occupational Heat Stress: Emerging risks in work injury claims

The release of the IPCC’s latest report on 6 August 2021 reminds us that climate change will continue to affect the way we live in the foreseeable future. As Australia continues to experience record heatwaves, workers in certain industries are likely to become more susceptible to experiencing occupational heat stress. There is now increasing evidence that such heat stress is strongly associated with work injuries as an indirect effect of heat exposure, with important implications for employers in affected industries.

To find out more, click here.

What is in a date: does a worker claiming compensation need to prove a particular date of injury?

When making a claim for workers compensation in Western Australia, section 178(2)(c) of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (the Act) stipulates those particular things that a valid notice of a claim requires. It says that the date and place at which an injury occurred (amongst other things) must be specified, noting that information is fairly essential in order for the merits of the claim to be considered and liability determined.

In the recent case of Gosper v Pilbara Iron Company (Services) Pty Ltd [2021] WADC 47 (Gosper), the District Court of Western Australia allowed an appeal to proceed on the basis that the provisions of the Act do not mandate that a worker must prove a specific date of injury in order to succeed in their claim.

To find out more, click here.

‘Ailment’ under the SRC Act

The question of what constitutes an ‘injury’ under statutory workers compensation schemes can be fraught with controversy. A common dispute is whether self-reported pain (or other unusual symptoms) constitutes a compensable injury when there is no objective evidence of pathology, or no particular diagnosis which connects the person’s claimed condition with their employment.

While these issues are often the subject of medical debate, the legal controversy as to what constitutes an ‘ailment’ under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (SRC Act)’ has recently come to a head, with two Tribunal cases on that question shortly to be heard by the Full Federal Court. Some guidance may be provided about whether objective evidence of some physical (or physiological) change is required.

To find out more, click here.

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