What to do in the event of an injury
If one of your workers suffers a work-related injury, they may be entitled to claim for workers' compensation. Queensland's statutory workers' compensation scheme is a no fault scheme (e.g. an injured worker is entitled to statutory compensation regardless of whether it is the worker's or the employer's fault that the injury occurred). Workers' compensation may include weekly compensation (for lost wages), medical/rehabilitation expenses, and reasonable travel costs.
Issues of fault and negligence (including contributory negligence by a worker) may be dealt with in a common law action for damages. Access to common law is available to all workers in Queensland who can prove negligence against an employer and who have a work-related injury. Damages may include compensation for pain and suffering or economic loss. The employer is covered for the cost by WorkCover Queensland through their accident insurance policy.
The injured worker needs to lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland if their employer is not self-insured.
A work-related injury may include:
- a cut or fracture
- a disease
- industrial deafness
- an injury sustained while travelling to or from work
- an injury while on a recess either at work or away from work
- psychiatric or psychological disorders such as stress or depression
- aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- death from an injury, disease or aggravation of a disease.
Lodging a workers' compensation claim
If one of your workers is injured, the following steps should be taken:
- The worker notifies you immediately.
- You assess the situation to make sure they're safe. Call 000 if it's an emergency.
- Check if you need to report the incident to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
- The worker sees a doctor to get a workers' compensation medical certificate.
- The worker lodges a claim with WorkCover Queensland.
If the injury results in a death, you must lodge a fatal injury claim with WorkCover Queensland by phoning 1300 362 128.
You must pay the worker for the day of the injury. This is separate to compensation paid from your insurance and must not come out of the worker's sick leave, holiday leave, or any other entitlements.
You will also need to pay an excess to WorkCover Queensland. This represents the first payment of weekly compensation.
The sooner a claim is lodged, the less it will cost you, as WorkCover Queensland can make a decision and start paying the claim sooner. WorkCover Queensland will then help your worker get back to work as safely and as soon as possible.
Rehabilitation for return to work
Workers' compensation laws require employers to participate in rehabilitation and return-to-work programs for injured workers.
Rehabilitation is designed to ensure workers a safe and early return to work. If you have an injured worker, they need to advise WorkCover Queensland when they intend to return to work. They may need to take part in a rehabilitation program, which could include medical treatments and alternative duties until they fully recover from their injury.
WorkCover Queensland provides information on injuries at work and the return to work plan.
Directors, partners or sole traders
Workers' compensation legislation does not cover directors, partners or sole traders, so it is not mandatory to have cover. Workers’ compensation insurance is still available.