The Workers’ Compensation merry-go-round

Too often, nurses and midwives are taken by surprise when they come face to face with WorkCover. If you are hurt at work, this is how the system works:

  1. Report injury to your manager or employer immediately
    Complete an injury or incident form no matter how minor the injury is.
  2. See a doctor
    You can nominate your own doctor. The doctor will complete a WorkCover medical certificate that indicates whether or not you are fit for work.
  3. Submit WorkCover certificate to your employer
    Keep a copy for your records and keep your employer informed on progress.
  4. Complete a workers compensation claim form
    The insurer may require you to provide additional information.
  5. The insurer
    The insurer will contact you, the employer and your nominated treating doctor to determine treatment, return to work needs and develop an injury management plan.
  6. Income
    Within seven days of receiving notification of your injury, the insurer may start provisional compensation payments and consider covering costs of ‘reasonably necessary’ treatments and rehabilitation.
  7. Independent assessments
    Your employer, or the insurer, may require you to attend an appointment with an Independent Medical Assessor

Back to work

Your doctor can clear you to return to work or determine you can go back with restrictions. In the latter case, the employer should consult you, your doctor, the insurer, the union and other treating health professionals to set achievable goals, identify suitable duties, design a return to work plan and monitor your progress.

OR

Permanent impairment.

If your doctor states you have reached maximum improvement and will not return to pre-injury duties, and the employer does not provide alternative employment, you are entitled to retraining, work trial placements and/or job seeking assistance.

The above chart is an outline of the NSW workers compensation process. There are other characters you might see along the way.
For a list of the possible cast see page 29.

It is important to cooperate with your employer and the insurer. It is most important that you keep copies of all documents associated with your claim. The NSW Nurses’ Association advises members to keep diary notes of all telephone discussions and meetings with your employer and the insurer.

Do not wait until you experience difficulties before contacting the Nurses’ Association for advice – especially, if the insurer denies liability or your employer threatens to terminate your employment.