Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic – weekly pay restored


Further to some recent comments about the widespread practice of “dodgy” rehabbers proposing bizarre “suitable/alternative work” to injured workers, courts have found that some (many!) proposed alternative occupations for injured workers are simply unrealistic.

Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic – weekly pay restored

In the following two legal cases, two injured workers who had their weekly pay terminated after 130 weeks (in Victoria¹) based on such dodgy rehabbers/Vocational practices, have had their weekly pay reinstated after the Magistrate Court found the proposed alternative occupations for the injured workers to be unrealistic.

Workcover case 1

Missen v Primech Engineering Pty Ltd [2012] C10777266 (14 November 2012)

In this case, a rigger aggravated his back injury in Sept 2009, after driving/operating  a forklift. The injured worker subsequently also developed depression as well as an adjustment disorder with anxiety. He did not returned to work.

The inured worker’s employer/workcover insurer accepted liability for the injured worker’s injuries  and paid the worker weekly benefits until March 2012…. that is until they decided the injured workers was now able to work.

At the Court hearing, the injured worker’s workcover insurer (and employer) argued that suitable employment for the injured worker had been “identified” and  included work as a hardware sales assistant, service station console operator or as a transport logistics supervisor.

However, the injured worker contested he could not return to work (nor in the identified suitable jobs)because of his (severe) psychological condition/injury.

At the Hearing, the Magistrate (S Garnett) did agree that the injured would (theoretically) be capable of undertaking suitable light duties if it wasn’t for the injured worker’s psychological condition— namely his (severe) depression and adjustment disorder.

Magistrate Garnett stated

“He (the injured worker) has no current work capacity and that is likely to continue indefinitely until such time as he undergoes an appropriate pain management program… and psychological treatment”

What’s perhaps more important is that the Magistrate also stated that he didn’t think the proposed employment / job options were realistic “when considering the physical restrictions that would need to be imposed”.

As such the injured worker was found to be still incapacitated. The Magistrate ordered the employer/workcover insurer to resume paying him his weekly payments, and  from the date they were  terminated.

Workcover case 2

Green v Willdarben Farm Pty Ltd [2012] C11668642 (14 November 2012)

In the second case, a nearly blind (in 1 eye) dairy hand suffered a left elbow injury in August 2009, when she was kicked by a cow.

Her workcover insurer/employer accepted liability for the injured worker’s injury and paid her weekly pay until April 2012…again until she was miraculously found fit to work in a childcare job (!), as school crossing supervisor (lollypop) or as in traffic management!

At the Court hearing, the injured worker told the Court that she was not able to do any of these “proposed” jobs because of her injury (heavy restrictions), being nearly blind in one eye, and… lack of education, being a dairy hand worker all her life.

Again, in this case the Magistrate (S. Garnett)  found that the injured worker did (theoretically) have a physical capacity for work “but with significant restrictions”.

The Magistrate went on and stated that:

“she (the injured worker) will have great difficulty in completing the necessary training and obtaining the necessary qualifications to work in the identified employments as a child care worker, traffic management or school crossing supervisor”, especially considering her age, physical limitations and lack of educational qualifications

“Her left eye impairment would (also) impede her ability to observe all oncoming vehicles and react accordingly”

“I find that even if (the injured worker) managed to obtain the necessary qualifications, considerable physical restrictions would need to be applied and she would have to find an employer who would be prepared to accommodate those restrictions.

Realistically, that is not going to occur.”

As such thee Magistrate thankfully ordered the workcover insurer/ employer to pay the injured worker her weekly payments from the date they were terminated.

¹Under s93C of the Victorian Accident Compensation Act 1985, a worker’s benefits expire after 130 weeks unless he or she is assessed as “likely to continue indefinitely to have no current work capacity“.

Related article

Vocational assessment, suitable jobs, you-could-be-a-funeral-director scam


[Post dictated by WorkcoverVictim and manually transcribed on her behalf]

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8 Responses to “Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic – weekly pay restored”

  1. So so typical and not restricted to Victoria either. I have physical injuries and some of the jobs they claimed I could do were – an aide (involves lots of walking and lifting), two jobs which last 2 weeks each per year (I kid you not) and another job which required standing for 6 hours a day and also only lasted one month per year. After years of tertiary study and two degrees, I was completely gobsmacked by this. So apart from the insinuation that I am somehow rorting the system by being injured, the never ending prodding of me by NOT independent doctors and the total lack of professionalism by some of the endless rotating conga line of case managers, I have to add the completely idiotic job matching done by a grossly overpaid 19 year old who thinks they are doing an actual job. I would be laughing on the floor about this if I could actually get to the floor.

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    • @Bunny – if it’s any consolation, I was assessed without my input (what my interests are/were was very unimportant to the guy) to be suitable to “work for the Minister” (no joke!), and to work “in building/construction maintenance”. Me? A nurse all my life, with 1 non-dominant arm and having been terminated from the -by then- hospital desk-job I loved so much based on physical impairment (i.e. not being able to type etc).
      It is a very dirty business, and these vocational assessors get a hefty fee by simply ‘writing’ – say GENERATING your ‘report’. Talk about UNREALISTIC, hellooo? I remember being utterly shocked….

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      WorkcoverVictim June 26, 2014 at 7:53 pm
      • I am in the similar shoes here. Two tertiary degrees and have worked as a researcher all my life. Was told to be an administrative assistant and work my way up. How do I work my way up in a completely different position? Especially if say I work as an admin assistant in health care??? Another job being identified is import/export clerk. The report says especially companies trading with China. I am Asian but that does not mean I speak Chinese! Why would the company hire a clerk that can’t communicate with their client? Isn’t a native speaker a better candidate than me? Duh!

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  2. my rehab place insists that I can get a job that I am physically unable to do only half the duties and the agencies would be prepared to hire a second person to do the other half.

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    • They-re desperate, make no mistake, they get a fat bonus $$$ when they return an injured sod (even the most seriously injureds) to any work!

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      WorkcoverVictim June 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm
      • We recently heard about a very seriously injured worker, who is by the way unable to eat and is being drip- tube fed and who is incontinent due to major spinal damage, that he was sent by his case manager to attend a vocational assessment in view to return to work. I mean how much worse can this dirty business get?

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        Workcovervictim3 June 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm
      • Hello my old China plate
        Long time will catch up soon .
        As you know I have to move to the bush to try and escape these pricks But there not silly $850 Return in the left jab must have really pissed them off to Melbourne return.
        Amazing I now have a capacity to work from an IME I have not seen for 6mmonths.
        But Fuck em I rang workspace Vic and didn’t mention my Claim and asked how can I work and is Legal under my High Risk license on my meds there answer WTF .
        SO NOW off to conciliation more Taxpayers Dollars amazing 130 weeks after being Unfit for any duties Amazingly I Can train Unemployed Eggberts to operate heavy machinery ( ie excavators front end loaders Forklifts) Lol
        And only 150km round trip for 12 minutes a day one hour a week.
        Are they Fuckin joking Sadly NO.
        Be in contact with the crew very soon you no who.

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        • @HarryRort – WTF?! What a joke, can’t believe they would want you to undertake such a dangerous duties (incl traveling) in your condition! I trust conciliation will be in your favour, I can’t see how anyone in their right mind would want you to undertake this kind of work.
          By the way China Plate says s/he is going downhill, undergoing many tests in relation to her/his machine component, which appears to be malfunctioning due to bugs! Not looking good and machinery is likely to have to be put in the trash for good!
          Crew will be in contact ASAP.
          Keep kickin’ butt mate!

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          WorkcoverVictim July 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm