All posts tagged: workers’ compensation regulator

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Back injury answering work mobile arose ‘in the course of employment’

Back injury answering work mobile arose ‘in the course of employment’

Injury in the course of employment – Injury during the course of employment – Injury working from home – Injury working remotely – Workers Compensation Lawyers for Employers – Workers Compensation Lawyers Qld

Ziebarth v Simon Blackwood (Workers’ Compensation Regulator) [2015] QIRC 121

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has upheld an appeal of a worker for acceptance of his claim for a back injury suffered while running to answer a work call on his mobile phone.

Facts

Mr Robert Ziebarth (worker) was employed as the Fleet Service Manager at Blenners Transport Pty Ltd (employer). He was responsible for maintenance repair issues associated with the employer’s fleet of trucks. The worker was required to work for at least 55 hours per week. He was also required to make himself available to work additional hours if required and was required to be on-call from time to time. He was supplied with a work telephone for the purpose of performing his duties. Importantly, it was agreed that at all material times the worker was ‘on-call’.

The worker had been chastised on a number of occasions by his superior in the past for not answering his mobile phone. At 10:00 pm his mobile rang with a distinctive ring tone for a work related call, while he was in the shower. He got out of the shower and slipped on the wet tiles, injuring his back.

Issue

The main issue for determination was whether the injury arose out of or in the course of the worker’s employment for the purposes of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld).

Determination

In a judgment delivered on 23 June 2015, O’Connor J, Deputy President of the QIRC determined the injury was suffered in the course of employment’ because:

  1. It was a term of the contract of employment that the worker make himself available to be on call from time to time.
  2. He was supplied a work telephone for the purpose of carrying out his employment duties, including those employment duties required of him whilst he was on call.
  3. He was on-call at the time of the incident.
  4. He was induced or encouraged to engage in the activity that he did.

The QIRC found that the work related injury was not, as submitted by the Workers’ Compensation Regulator, the running. The activity to be considered was the answering of the work mobile phone.

Considerations

With an increased demand for flexible work arrangements, this decision may be of interest to those in human resources and management.  Critical to this decision was the fact that the worker was ‘on-call’ and that the worker felt a need to answer the call because of ‘driver safety and the public safety’. A different outcome may occur in similar circumstances where staff elect to do work remotely but are not actually ‘on-call’.

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION for advice and information about a personal injury matter by calling (07) 3067 3025 or contact us online.

Contact us

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Kate DenningBack injury answering work mobile arose ‘in the course of employment’
Read more

Time for seeking review of workers’ compensation decision restricted

Case note: Blackwood v Pearce [2015] ICQ 012

Workers Compensation Lawyers for Employers – Workers’ Compensation Regulator – WorkCover Queensland – Workers Compensation Extension – Workers Compensation Application for Review

The Industrial Court of Queensland has considered the power of the Workers’ Compensation Regulator (Regulator) to extend the time for applying for review of a decision under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA).

Under section 542(2) and (3) of the WCRAthe Regulator may grant a request for an extension to apply for review of a decision by WorkCover or a self-insurer:

  1. if it is satisfied ‘special circumstances’ exist; and
  2. provided the request is made within three months of the applicant receiving the decision.

In Cloncurry Shire Council v Workers’ Compensation Regulatory Authority & Anor [2006] QSC 362, the Supreme Court found that a decision by Q-Comp to grant an extension outside of the three month period, was not invalid.

However, in a decision delivered on 28 April 2015, Martin J, President of the Industrial Court, disagreed with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 542.

Martin J found that if a request to extend time is not made within the three month period, the WCRA gives no power to the Regulator to grant an extension.

Martin J adopted a literal interpretation of the legislation.  Until the section is tested again at Supreme Court level, it seems likely that the Regulator (who was the Appellant in the case) will adopt the reasoning of Martin J.  The decision should be welcomed by insurers and employers.

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION for advice and information about a workers’ compensation matter by calling (07) 3067 3025 or contact us online.

Contact us

Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Kate DenningTime for seeking review of workers’ compensation decision restricted
Read more

InDefence covers legal and technical issues in a general way. Changes in circumstances or the law may affect the completeness or accuracy of the information published. InDefence is not designed to express opinions on specific cases, to provide legal advice or to establish a relationship of client and lawyer between Denning Insurance Law and the reader, or any third party. No person should act or refrain from acting solely on the basis of this publication. You should seek legal advice particular to your circumstances before taking action on any issue dealt with in this blog.