Who do you tell if you suffer a work related injury or illness? (Vic)
If you have suffered a work related injury or illness in Victoria, you have a few options in terms of who tell.
Yes, you should let your employer know and you should report your work related injury or illness in the work injury register book.
In the real world however, many people don’t want to do that because, for example, they might think their injury is a minor one, or they might not want to impact their employment.
This page will explore the issue further.
Table of Contents
Your employer (or a manager or supervisor)
This is the obvious one.
If you suffer and injury or illness and it is work related, ideally you should tell your employer. Or a manager or a supervisor.
You can just mention it to someone.
And it’s a good idea to confirm it in writing.
The best way to do this is to record it in the injury register book or whatever system your employer has in place for recording injuries (perhaps it’s online?).
When recording the injury or illness, you don’t need to go into too much detail. Just be brief and mention what the injury or condition is, when it happened, and briefly describe how it happened.
When should an injury be reported to the employer?
Ideally, as soon as possible after it occurred.
The WorkCover laws in Victoria say that an injury should be reported within 30 days of it occurring.
But as mentioned above, many people can be hesitant to report an injury to their employer.
And if you read much of the material online, you’ll see that the advice you are being given is that you shouldn’t be afraid of reporting an injury because you’re protected by law.
That is, that you can’t be treated differently because of your work related injury or illness.
While this is true – in that there are protections in place – the reality is that in some instances some employers will treat an employee differently who has reported an injury.
So I can understand when some people may say to me that they were hesitant to report claim to the employer.
Keep this in mind:
Although it is preferable to report injury to employer, it is not strictly necessary if you feel confident that you would be unfairly treated if you did so.
And while the WorkCover laws in Victoria say that an injury should be reported within 30 days of it occurring, the reality is that many WorkCover claims that haven’t been reported within the 30 days, or at all, are accepted.
Your doctor or other health practitioners
If you attend a doctor or another medical practitioner, for example a physiotherapist, chiropractor or psychologist, for medical treatment relating to the work related injury or condition, it’s a good idea to mention it to them.
Firstly, doing so is helpful to ensure you get the treatment you need and to help ensure you don’t aggravate it at work.
For example, if the doctor knows that you suffered a back injury at work due to a specific task, the doctor might advise you not to perform that task for a certain period, or to perform it in a modified way (eg; with the assistance of someone else).
Secondly, if you ever wish to pursue a WorkCover claim or if you have a WorkCover claim on foot the doctor will be able to provide medical material with a knowledge of how your injury occurred.
If there is a dispute about how the injury might have happened then the doctors clinical notes may be relevant.
If you for example attended on the day the injury occurred and the doctor has detailed this in his or her notes, then this should obviously assist you.
The same goes if you attended a hospital for treatment.
A work colleague
If you have a work colleague that you might work closely with, you can mention the injury or condition to them.
You can let them know how it happened.
If there is ever a dispute down the track as to how the injury occurred, say if you wanted to lodge a WorkCover claim, they may be able to support you.
Although keep in mind that in some cases if someone is employed by a company they may not wish to be involved and support a WorkCover matter because they may be worried about their own position within the company.
The ideal thing to do if you suffer an injury or condition at work is to report it to your employer as soon as it occurs, and ideally within 30 days of it occurring.
But the reality is that many people are hesitant to report an injury related to their employment.
In this case, you should be aware that even though an injury isn’t reported within 30 days of it occurring, or at all, that many WorkCover claims are lodged and accepted.
You should also consider mentioning the injury to any medical practitioners that are treating your injury, such as a GP, specialist doctor, physiotherapist or psychologist.
If you elect to pursue a WorkCover claim down the track, they can provide a medical report with the knowledge of how it occurred.
Also, they will likely make a note of when and how the injury occurred, and their medical notes can be useful in providing support to your claim.
Finally, you can also mention the injury or condition to a work colleague.
Related reading: Does WorkCover affect future employment