Council faces court over WorkCover injury claim delay

Tuesday, 07 May, 2024

Council faces court over WorkCover injury claim delay

A Melbourne council has been sentenced and placed on a 12-month adjourned undertaking after failing to lodge an injured worker’s WorkCover claim. Banyule City Council pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to forward a workers compensation claim to WorkSafe within 10 days of receipt. The council was, without conviction, ordered to pay $2500 to the court fund as well as costs of $1500.

The court heard that an early childhood educator submitted a claim after injuring her hip and lower back when she tripped over a water pipe at the council’s Heidelberg West childcare centre in September 2022. The council continued to pay the worker’s salary until she returned to full-time duties on 19 October; however, she also incurred additional medical expenses.

An investigation by WorkSafe Victoria found that the worker submitted a certificate of capacity and a signed copy of the claim form on 21 September, the day before two public holidays, with the council’s Return to Work Coordinator going on four weeks’ leave a week later.

In December, the educator asked the council for her claim number and insurer details but received no response. She then contacted WorkSafe who advised her to submit her claim directly to the agent and it was ultimately accepted. Executive Director of Return to Work Victoria Jason Lardelli said there is no excuse for employers failing to look after injured workers.

“No one should ever be injured at work, but if the worst does happen, employers must ensure they meet their obligations to support injured workers. That includes lodging the appropriate claim forms without delay so that workers can access the care and support they need, right through to supporting injured workers when they are ready to return to work,” Lardelli said.

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