Workplace Injuries And Compensation
The UFU State Council has determined to enhance the services provided to UFU members injured in the course of employment. All enquiries will be forwarded to our Workers Compensation Officer Les Birch.
Les has been providing advice and representing injured workers for the past 30 years as a Trade Union official and has developed extensive skills and experience in the SA Employment Tribunal advocating on behalf of injured workers. He is working 2 ½ days a week and can be contacted via the Union office on 8352 7211.
Alternatively contact Les via the inquiry field below if you have any workers compensation matters that you would wish to discuss with him. He’s a top workers’ compensation expert and we are fortunate indeed to have Les join our team.
For member’s information about the Return to Work Act 2014 and the Return to Work Regulations 2015 along with the presumptive cancer provisions contained in Schedule 3 of The Return to Work Act 2014, please see the download features below.
Workers Compensation History Narrative.
The old WorkCover Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 came into effect on 30 September 1987 and ceased on 30 June 2015.
Injured workers within the State of South Australia are now covered by the Return to Work Act 2014 that came into effect on 1 July 2015. Commonwealth employees are covered by the Comcare scheme (SRC Act).
Approximately 60% of workers are covered directly by Return to Work SA and their claims agents Gallagher Bassett and Employers Mutual Limited. The other 40% are exempt employers who take out their own insurance and administer their own claims portfolio. The Act and the regulations apply equally to both groups of employers/employees.
The MFS is an exempt employer. The South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) is responsible for the administration of all workers compensation matters relating to firefighters.
Firefighters also have access to additional entitlements for certain work related injuries or illnesses under the 1st Schedule of your award (Firefighting Industry Employees (SAMFS) Award 2007. However you must be eligible and there must be a causal connection to the nature of firefighting and when sustaining injuries you were placed in a dangerous situation.
Injured at work?
In brief – what to do first:
- Ensure the injury is reported at your workplace. Generally this is done through filling out a HIRMS report.
- Keep a record of any conversation you have with the person you reported it to. Keep a record of any witnesses to the incident.
- If medical attention is required consult with your own treating GP. It is a fundamental right by law to choose your own doctors, be it a GP or any form of specialist. Our union strongly recommends that injured firefighters seek medical attention from your regular GP.
- If required, the GP will refer the injured worker (IW) to have radiology tests carried out and if necessary refer them to a specialist/s.
- The GP will issue a work capacity certificate recording how the injury occurred, the date of the injury, what type of medical attention is required and time off from work if necessary for the injured worker to recover.
- The IW will be required to fill out a Claim Form and to inform the decision maker (SAFECOM) if they are claiming for medical expenses only and/or income maintenance for lost time from work.
- If the IW has capacity to undertake work duties with restrictions the Employer (MFS) is required to provide suitable duties.
- The claim form and the WCC should be lodged with the IWs immediate supervisor if possible.
- The compensating authority SAFECOM must, wherever practicable, determine the claim within 10 business days on receipt of the claim. (S31(4))
- If SAFECOM is unable to determine the claim within 10 business days it must offer interim payments. (S 32)
- If the claim is accepted and the IW is off work then the compensating authority SAFECOM will be required to set an average weekly earnings rate. The injured worker will also be entitled to reasonable medical expenses including travel for medical attention to be provided.
- If an IW is likely to be incapacitated for work for more than 4 weeks then a Recovery/Return To Work (RRTW) plan must be drawn up. (S25)
- The IW’s treating doctor must have an input into what duties are being or will be offered to the IW. A RRTW plan must be reviewed from time to time.
- If the claim is rejected then refer to the article “Your rights at the SA Employment Tribunal”
Firefighters who are injured or who have a work-related illness are entitled to lodge claims under the Return to Work Act 2014. However, it is not easy to find the way through the system and most injured workers need help. Members of the United Firefighters Union can get help from the Union at every step in the process. The Union can tell you about your rights, help you to find good treatment, assist you with forms and be your advocates.
If you are injured at work ensure your rights are protected and seek assistance from the UFUSA as a priority.