According to a government survey, nearly a third of Victoria Police members have witnessed bullying in the workplace and one-fifth have experienced it first-hand!
The federal work safety regulator (Comcare) says the current upheaval of government means departments and agencies are in the danger zone for workplace “psychosocial” injuries and warns public service managers can be fined up to $600,000 for failure to prevent workplace bullying and harassment. It all sounds so very good to be true. The final scenario is who is being persecuted?
As we recently highlighted (again!) there has definitely been a recent rise in workcover insurance companies defendants obtaining evidence from a variety of social media sources to look for any information about activities that the injured worker can do, other injuries unrelated to their claim, and evidence of inappropriate behaviour, amongst other things. These other things now also include the privacy risks from sharing Smartphone and / or Tablet photos over the internet!!!
You may recall the recent case of an electrical apprentice who was told to use razor sharp off-cuts as a ‘workaround’ to protects electrical insulation during construction, and that this practice was deemed reasonable, even though safe commercially available products are available specifically for the task. As a consequence of using the razor sharp off-cuts, the apprentice severed his ulnar (finger) nerve….
On Friday 20 September WorkSafe Victoria’s CEO Denise Cosgrove boasted about the scheme’s solid financial results! How interesting given that the scheme was recently under fire for “inappropriately rejecting claims”, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of agents and WorkSafe as a result of these figures.
Almost on a daily basis we receive emails from genuinely injured workers who have had their legitimate claims DENIED by their workcover insurers,without much explanation other that “we don’t believe you did it at work”.
It’s really official – no more confusion for our NSW injured workers, our own senior lawyers have confirmed that the NSW Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) is now allowing injured workers to amend proceedings to include claims for pain and suffering pursuant to section 67 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.
Referring back to WorkSafe Victoria’s CEO (and high-rise plonker) has recently been demanding that common law rights be slashed and in the wake of the recent cruel NSW workcover reforms, which include an increase in the level of permanent impairment threshold to be entitled for a lumpsum and common law damages, not to mention the current “review” which is going on in QLD,we are really baffled and perplexed as why workcover schemes and their stakeholders continue to push for increased thresholds when there is ample evidence of spectacular failure in other jurisdictions/states.
It has come to our attention, thanks to our co-author Trinny, that recent changes were made by the Queensland Parliament as to the definition of a “worker”, which basically means that fewer workers are now covered under the QLD workers compensation Act.
All Queensland workers and employers are urged check their workers’ compensation obligations urgently.
Further to our articles about Common Law Damages Claims, e.g how they are calculated ; we thought it very important to highlight that, when it comes to awarding injured workers damages for economic loss, Courts tend to look unfavourably upon injured workers -even those with the tiniest bit of work capacity- who do not, or did not attempt to move on with their life in terms of returning to work. Needless to say that the defendants (workcover insurer lawyers and barristers) will also use any argument possible to demonstrate that you, the injured worker, did “nothing”, or not enough to mitigate your own losses, for example by refusing medical treatment (to some degree) rehabilitation, counseling, vocational assessment(s), seeking employment within your restriction(s), re-training, etc.