How a work injury can turn into a psychological claim!

Public news

A regional MTA member recently reported that an employee was cleaning a vehicle pit at work when he suffered a bite from a young brown snake on his left hand.

The employer was very quick to assist the mechanic with onsite first aid followed by accompanying him to the local hospital and subsequently air lifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he received the all clear and was discharged the same day.

However, as a result of the snake bite, the mechanic lodged a claim for compensation for adjustment disorder with a mixed and depressed mood. This was proven to be as a result of the snake bite and the claim was accepted.

Members are strongly encouraged to contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here if they have a claim for compensation lodged against them.

The employer has continued to support the worker during his rehabilitation, however the worker has remained totally incapacitated for work and is unlikely to make a return to work at the employer.

Section 7 of The Return to Work (RTW) Act states;

7—Injury must arise from employment

(1) This Act applies to an injury if (and only if) it arises from employment.

(2) Subject to this section, an injury arises from employment if—

(a) in the case of an injury other than a psychiatric injury—the injury arises out of or in the course of employment and the employment was a significant contributing cause of the injury; and

(b) in the case of a psychiatric injury—

(i) the psychiatric injury arises out of or in the course of employment and the employment was the significant contributing cause of the injury; and

(ii) the injury did not arise wholly or predominantly from any action or decision designated under subsection (4).

The key message for members is that as a result of a physical injury sustained at work, a psychiatric injury can follow and despite any pre-existing conditions, the claim for compensation can be accepted. This can result in longer periods off work and sometimes indefinitely.

The MTA is always focussed on safety in the workplace, whether it’s hazard identification or early return to work and rehabilitation following a workplace incident. If you require any assistance in Return to Work matters, please contact our WHS&RTW Coordinator, Cos Lamberto, by calling 8440 2628.