Now that I have workers compensation, what are my obligations?
Every employer is required to:
If you missed this step, go back to Getting workers compensation insurance.
Every employer must have the 'If you get injured at work' poster in some prominent place at their work.
This poster summaries what you and your worker should do if there's been a work related injury.
Need it in another language?
The 'If you get injured at work' poster is also available in Arabic, simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Download and print them yourself or order them from the publications store.
A return to work (RTW) program is the formal policy that outlines general procedures for handling work related injury or illness. It represents an employer's commitment to the health, safety and recovery of workers following an incident.
All employers in NSW must have a RTW program within 12 months of starting a business.
There is support available if you need help you develop your RTW program, such as the Guidelines for workplace return to work programs.
For more information visit return to work programs.
A register of injuries is a record of each work related injury or illness sustained by your workers regardless of whether a claim for workers compensation has been made.
It may be kept in writing or be electronic (eg on a computer).
The register of injuries must include these details:
- name of the worker
- the worker's address
- the worker's age at the time of injury
- the worker's occupation at the time of injury
- the industry in which the worker was engaged at the time of injury
- the time and date of injury
- the nature of the injury
- the cause of the injury
There are penalties for failing to keep a register of injuries.
For more information on register of injuries, see SafeWork NSW.
- Help your worker get medical treatment, especially if it's serious (eg call an ambulance)
- If the injury is considered 'serious', 'dangerous' or has resulted in a death you must report it to Safework NSW immediately on 13 10 50
- Record it in your register of injuries
- Tell your insurer within 48 hours of being made aware of the injury
- Work with the insurer to help your worker return to or recover at work
This table provides a summary of key employer obligations for workers compensation and workplace injury management. It isn't exhaustive and doesn't include the requirements specified in the SIRA Guidelines for workplace return to work programs.
|Employer obligation prior to injury||Legislative reference||Penalty notice offence||Maximum penalty|
|Have a workers compensation insurance policy||Section 155(1), 1987 Act||$750||500 penalty units or imprisonment for six months, or both.|
|Keep and supply wage records||
Section 174, 1987 Act|
Clause 166, 2016 Regulation
|$500||500 penalty units|
|Have a register of injuries||
Section 256 and 63, 1998 Act|
Clause 40, 2016 Regulation
|$500||50 penalty units|
|Display a summary of the 1998 Act (poster)||
Section 231, 1998 Act |
Clause 39(1), 2016 Regulation
|$200||20 penalty point|
|Have a RTW Coordinator (Category 1 employers)||Clause 19, 2016 Regulation||n/a||20 penalty units|
|Establish a return to work program||
Section 52, 1998 Act |
Clauses 11 to 14, 2016 Regulation
20 penalty units for category 1 employer|
5 penalty units for category 2 employer
|Display or notify the return to work program||
Section 52(2)(c), 1998 Act |
Clauses 17 and 18, 2016 Regulation
10 penalty units for category 1 employer|
2 penalty units for category 2 employer
|Notify insurer of an incident or injury within 48 hours||
Section 44(2), 1998 Act |
Clause 36, 2016 Regulation
|$500||20 penalty units|
|Immediately notify regulator (Safework) of notifiable incident||Section 38, 2011 Act||$10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a body corporate|
|Forward documents related to the claim on request by insurer within seven days||Sections 264(2) and 69(1), 1998 Act||$500||50 penalty units|
|Provide name and address of employer and insurer to worker on request||Section 232(2), 1998 Act||$200||20 penalty units|
|Comply with the obligations imposed by or under insurer’s injury management program||Section 43(5), 1998 Act||n/a||Failure to comply with employer improvement notice 100 penalty units|
Participate and cooperate in the establishment of, and comply with obligations imposed by, the injury management plan |
Section 46, 1998 Act |
Clause 59, 2016 Regulation
|n/a||Failure to comply with employer improvement notice 100 penalty units|
|Provide suitable employment||Section 49, 1998 Act||n/a||50 penalty units|
|Employer must tell insurer if they are unable to provide suitable employment||Schedule 3 Clause 20, 2016 Regulation||n/a||n/a|
|Pass on compensation monies owed to worker as soon as practicable||Sections 264(3) and 69(1)(c), 1998 Act||$500||50 penalty units|
|Must not dismiss a worker because of the injury within the relevant period (six months after the worker first became unfit for work unless otherwise specified)||Section 248, 1987 Act||n/a||100 penalty units|
- 1987 = Workers Compensation Act 1987
- 1998 Act = Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998
- 2011 Act = Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- 2016 Regulation = Workers Compensation Regulation 2016
- A category 1 employer is an employer:
- whose basic tariff premium exceeds $50,000, or
- who is self-insured, or
- insured with a specialised insurer and who employs more than 20 workers.
- A category 2 employer is an employer who is not a category 1 employer.
We conduct checks
We conduct compliance and education site visits, and write to employers from various sectors to make formal requests for information.
Our education and compliance activities provide information, guidance, awareness and advice to help you comply with your obligations and understand the compliance risks associated with being uninsured or under-insured.
If we visit your business, we will ask you to provide a certificate of currency or current workers compensation insurance policy. We want to see your policy number, as well as the start or renewal date so we know your business and workers are properly covered.
If you don’t have a current workers compensation policy, you may be liable for an on-the-spot fine of $750. You may also be liable to pay up to double the cost of the workers compensation premiums you should have paid. In more serious circumstances, SIRA can prosecute you in court and you could receive a fine of up to $55,000, six months imprisonment, or both.
SIRA or your insurer may also conduct wage audits of employer records. We do this to make sure employers are paying the appropriate premiums. Under legislation, employers must keep and maintain records of all wages paid to workers they've employed (for at least five years after the last entry in the record).
- Do you offer accommodation in lieu of wages? Housing payments (including a company house, free housing and housing loans) are counted as remuneration.
- Do you submit your final wage amounts at the end of the policy period? This is required by the insurer.
- Do you deduct money from your workers’ wages for workers compensation? This is not lawful.
These publications may also help you meet your obligations: