For an injury to count as a workplace injury, it must be connected to your work – but does not always have to occur in the actual workspace.
As outlined in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, an injury is any personal injury arising in the course of, employment, so long as the employment is the major significant contributing factor to the injury.
In plain terms, this means that if your work is the major cause behind developing a psychiatric or psychological disorder, it can fall under workplace injury.
For more information on general workplace injuries, including some frequently asked questions, visit our Work Related Injury page.
Am I a ‘Worker’?
A worker is an individual (i.e. not a company) who “works under a contract and in relation to the work”. Typically this means someone working under an employment contract. Examples include casual and permanent employees and full-time and part-time employees.
Even where a person is self-employed or a ‘sub-contractor’, they may be a worker under the Act. Examples of sub-contractors eligible as ‘workers’ can include the following:
- A sales person paid by commission
- A person hired through a labour agency or a training organisation.
A person who is working under their Australian Business Number (ABN), and responsible for their own tax will still count as an individual, and thus may be eligible as a worker’.
Examples of people that are not workers include:
- Owner-manager type roles such as a director of a corporation
- A trustee of a trust, or a partner in a partnership business.
- Independent contractors, such as those that have freedom in the way the work is done, are free to pay/delegate to someone else (subcontract) and are free to accept or refuse additional work. These people are unlikely to be considered a ‘worker’.
Is Work the “Cause” of the Injury?
The key requirement for a workplace compensation claim is that the injury must arise out of, or occur in the course of, the worker’s employment.
Injuries don’t need to happen only at work: travelling to and from work, or while on a break from work may count as workplace injuries.
Injuries can also take place if you are travelling for work, or visiting other workplaces or sites for the purposes of your job. In certain cases, employees may also be covered while injured when working from home.
In some cases, Workers Compensation may not apply if you were driving to or from work in Queensland. If your injury involves a motor vehicle or public transport accident, you may still be entitled to motor vehicle accident compensation.
Whether an injury is workplace-related is determined on a case-by-case basis. The actions you were taking and reasons for taking them will both be considered. Some workplace injuries that take time to manifest, such as stress, can present extra challenges when making claims.