Business pleads guilty to seven workers compensation offences

Tuesday, 08 December, 2009

Victorian panel beating business GP Alexander and Co pleaded guilty in the Moorabbin Magistrates Court to seven charges relating to workers compensation.

The Court heard that a worker was employed as a spray painter when he injured his knee while entering the spray booth. While he told the owner’s son after the incident occurred, he didn’t submit a claim for workers compensation.

One week later, he attended his doctor and was certified as being fit for modified duties. Some time later, the worker attended his doctor again for another examination and was declared unfit for all duties. The worker gave the certificate to his employer, who allegedly threw it away.

The worker then submitted a claim for workers compensation with his employer, who did not contact the worker about the claim and did not forward it to their WorkSafe Agent. As a result, the worker’s lawyer sent the claim directly to the Agent and it was subsequently accepted.

WorkSafe investigators then attended the employer’s premises and it was established that a return-to-work plan had not been prepared, that the company had failed to maintain an occupational rehabilitation program and risk management program and had failed to display the notice-of-injury poster and keep a register of injuries.

The company pleaded guilty to seven charges and was fined $3000 without conviction and agreed to pay costs of $800.

WorkSafe’s Len Boehm said the management of return-to-work obligations was often juggled among a range of business needs: “Many small businesses have never made a claim before or make them infrequently. As a result, when a worker is injured, it can be difficult to know what to do or what your responsibilities are.

“We offer a range of practical assistance that is simple to access so that employers are aware of their responsibilities and know what to do. In this instance, the employer has ignored seven of their responsibilities. Employers who do this will be penalised.”

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