How to Prepare for a Workplace Investigation

For many businesses, workplace investigations are common practice. The need for an investigation varies, but common reasons include:

  • Possible conduct by an employee that can justify disciplinary action or dismissal.
  • A breach of rules, policy or illegal conduct.
  • The lodging of a complaint by an employee.
  • Theft, fraud, fighting, harassment, drug-taking, breaches in safety provisions, bullying or misuse of company property.

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An Overview of WorkCover’s High Risk Commercial Construction Strategy

Construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces, not only in Australia, but worldwide and WorkCover has launched new initiatives as part of its High Risk Commercial Construction Strategy. This is to try and ensure better safety practices on construction sites, particularly those where multi-level construction is involved.

What are the initiatives?

The new initiatives are in addition to WorkCover’s ongoing compliance activities and they include the launch of the Focus on Industry (FOI) Housing Construction Program, as well as a recent inspection blitz of construction sites across Sydney and regional NSW.

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What Poor Workplace Health Costs the Australian Economy

Australia’s workplace health is extremely poor and it is costing the economy and employers billions of dollars a year. This article examines the problem and looks at ways to improve the diagnosis.

The problem

Chronic diseases such as arthritis, back pain, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer and diabetes account for 70% of all Australian health problems.

Common causes of chronic disease are unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, alcohol and smoking, and more than 30% of our workforce suffer from at least one chronic disease.

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IMO Newsletter “Pain & Feigning” Seminars wrap-up (with resources)

This IMO Newsletter article provides an update on the recent seminars on “Pain & Feigning” held in Sydney and Melbourne. The intention is that this post-seminar report will be a useful resource and act as a primer for further education of our clients and clinicians in this topic area, relevant to your particular cases/clients.

The content includes links to the seminars’ PowerPoint presentation and a document of references used in preparation of the seminars with bibliography resource material which I believe should be a useful resource (5 pages) for clients, including Case Managers, Lawyers, Injury Management Advisors and IME medico-legal consultants. It may also be downloaded as an IMO Pty Ltd copyright document for private study and/or organisation-wide information libraries.

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Work Injury Damages Claims – the Who, What, Why and How

For accidents that happen at work, there are systems in place that allow injured workers to sue for modified common law damages in certain circumstances. If successful, an injured worker can be provided with a sum that will help them to continue paying for living expenses and help take the pressure off not being able to work in their selected field.

So what exactly is a work injury claim, who can claim, why go through the process and how does it work?

The Who

In order to claim for work injury damages, there is a criteria that must be met. First and foremost, the work injury must be as a result of the negligence of the employer.

There are many different forms of negligence in the workforce, with common claims based on failure to provide items such as appropriate protective clothing. Other cases may be as a result of faulty equipment, failure to implement safe working practices and not enough training and support.

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Testamentary capacity & competence assessment: questions of relevance given increasing ageing and dementia in Australia

This is a short article extracting some key content from an article pre-publication (hopefully in an eminent peer-reviewed journal) by Jane Lonie. The intention is that this article will be a primer for further reading in this area as relevant to your particular cases/clients.

Capacity is:
• the ability to make and communicate a decision;
• not a unitary or global concept;
• domain specific: particular to the type of decision being made (e.g. personal, health, financial); and
• decision or task specific: different for every decision made, even within one domain.[1]

The Pros and Cons of Pre-Employment Medicals

Pre-employment medicals have advantages and disadvantages for both employers and employees, according to an article on The advantages include:

  • They reduce the employer’s risk of hiring someone with a pre-existing condition that could lead to workers compensation claims, absenteeism and lost productivity.
  • They can alert the employee to health issues that may otherwise have gone undetected.

Total and Permanent Disablement Insurance Explained

A recent article on Money Management argued the case that, despite what some insurance advisors have been led to believe, Total and Permanent Disablement insurance (TPD) has not been made redundant due to the advent of modern trauma insurance.

The article listed a number of examples of injuries and illnesses that are not covered under all trauma insurance policies, but that could quite possibly render a person eligible for a TPD benefit. These examples are quite numerous and include conditions such as:

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What Does an Injury Management Consultant Do?

The NSW WorkCover website defines an Injury Management Consultant (IMC) as a person who:

  • Is a registered medical practitioner
  • has experience with work-related injuries
  • has experience with workplace based rehabilitation.

The website describes the main role of an IMC as being to assist in determining the nature of an injured worker’s problem and then attempting to find a suitable solution to the problem by liaising with the following people:

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What is a Work Related Injury?

If an employee is injured while performing a normal work-related task during business hours, there is little doubt that this comprises a work related injury. Yet for both employers and employees there are a number of areas of confusion about what is covered under Australian workers compensation laws.  These include injuries that take place during breaks, injuries during travel to and from work, longer term injuries and disease, and injuries suffered while receiving treatment for a separate workplace injury.

Injuries during breaks

In general, injuries that occur during work breaks are covered by Australian workers compensation laws. The primary exception to this is when the worker subjects him or herself to ‘any abnormal risk of injury’ during the break. Additionally, if the break is not authorised by the employer, it may not be covered under the law. For this reason, it is important that employers communicate specifically to employees which breaks they are allowed to take throughout the day, whether they be lunch, morning tea or any other.

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