Workers compensation bulletin - issue 36

Managing claims where more than one employer is liable for the injury

There may be circumstances where a worker has sustained an employment-related injury, however there may be more than one employer liable to pay compensation in respect of that injury.

In the event the injury is a ‘disease injury’, the workers compensation legislation (section 15 and section 16 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987) outlines the tests to be applied to determine the date of injury and which employer is liable to pay compensation.

Generally, the worker can lodge a claim with the last employer liable and commence receiving compensation. The employer can then seek contribution from other employers who may also be liable.

All insurers are reminded that:

  • any issue of liability for contribution from other insurers should not involve disputation of a worker’s overall entitlement to workers compensation
  • negotiation of contribution should occur between the parties, or be resolved within the workers compensation commission between the insurers where agreement cannot be reached
  • if an insurer believes their insured is only partially liable, it is expected that the claim will continue to be managed and compensation paid while issues of liability are resolved
  • as far as practicable, injured workers should not be disadvantaged while liability is being determined
  • the insurer is expected to continue to pay compensation to the worker until the dispute has been resolved.

SIRA will continue to monitor complaints that arise where insurers have disputed liability on the grounds that their insured is not liable for all of the worker’s loss and payment of compensation has ceased as a result.

New web app to help workers navigate the system

We are proud to announce the successful launch of the Have you been injured at work? web app. This new online application is designed to help workers understand and navigate the NSW workers compensation system.

Presented in a way that makes most sense to a worker, Have you been injured at work? takes the user on a chronological journey, explaining the benefits, entitlements and support available to them depending on how many weeks have passed since their injury claim.

The app can be saved to the home screen of any mobile device, meaning it can live in a worker’s pocket as an accurate and simple source of workers compensation information.

It will also enable workers to have a meaningful dialogue with their support team and the insurer, and establish a successful recovery at work plan.

Check it out for yourself now.

National framework for management of psychological claims in workers compensation

SafeWork Australia and SuperFriend have developed Taking Action: A best practice framework for the management of psychological claims in the Australian workers’ compensation sector.

This national framework provides practical and evidence-based guidance to help workers compensation insurers and claims managers to better support workers experiencing psychological illness.

SafeWork Australia (SWA) partnered with SuperFriend to adapt the TAKING ACTION Framework for the life insurance industry for the Australian workers compensation sector. The framework reflects the important role of the insurer and employer in a person-centred claims management process.

SWA undertook in-depth consultation with workers, insurers and employers to develop the framework and ensure it met their needs. An expert advisory group (of which SIRA was a part) helped adapt the framework to the workers compensation industry.

We encourage all insurers and claims agents in the workers compensation system to review and consider this best practice framework in the management of psychological claims.

Download your copy of the framework.

Mental health guideline: Public consultation open

Public consultation is now open for Monash University's draft Clinical guideline for the diagnosis and management of work-related mental health conditions in general practice.

The guideline aims to provide general practitioners with the best available evidence they need to help them diagnose and manage work-related mental health conditions in their patients.

To review the draft guideline and make a submission, please visit the project website. The consultation closes on 15 March 2018.

Recent Workers Compensation Commission decision

Recent Presidential decision

On 15 December 2017, the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) handed down it decision in Australian Bushman’s Campdraft And Rodeo Association Ltd v Gajkowski.


On 4 April 2014, Mr Gajkowski sustained a head injury resulting in severe brain damage while participating in a rodeo event as a bull rider. The issue before the WCC was whether he was a worker pursuant to clause 15 of Schedule 1 to the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (1998 Act). In the initial Arbitrator decision, Mr Gajkowski was found to be a “worker.” An appeal of the Arbitrator’s decision was sought by the respondent.


One of the key issues in the appeal was whether Mr Gajkowski was a worker under clause 15 of Schedule 1 of the 1998 Act. President Judge Keating found that Mr Gajkowski was not engaged in a legally enforceable agreement, was not engaged for fee or reward, and was not an entertainer in a public performance in a place of public entertainment to which the public is admitted on payment of a fee or charge.

Accordingly, Mr Gajkowski was found to not be a worker for the purposes of clause 15(1) of Schedule 1 to the 1998 Act. The Arbitrator’s determination of 31 May 2017 was revoked and substituted with an award for the respondents.