Latest Rulings in Workers Compensation
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Injury on break compensable
In Watson v Qantas Airways a pilot who was injured between flights while driving from a friends house was entitled to receive workers compensation.
The pilot suffered a leg injury from a car accident while in Los Angeles after visiting a friend. The employer denied liability as the injury did not arise in the course of employment. The pilot has lost his pilot’s licence as a result of the injury.
It was held that the break between flights was a compulsory one and was in the middle of one overall period or piece of work. The matter was determined in accordance with the High Court decision of Hatzimanolis v ANI Corporation which set out the test of liability for injury during compulsory breaks as whether the employee was in the middle of one overall period or piece of work. The test of whether the injury was sustained in the course of employment depends upon whether the employee was doing something which was reasonably required, expected or authorised to do in order to carry out his actual duties.
Employers need to be aware of the risk involved in having employees partake in certain activities during breaks. In line with the High Court decision, liability for workers’ compensation will arise where the employee is taking a break as part of an overall period of work, where the activity could reasonably be required in order to carry out duties.
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