WorkCover Changes Queensland – as from October 2013 – Edited for Psychiatrists
These changes are effective from 15 October 2013 and arose from some of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Inquiry into the Operation of Queensland’s Workers’ Compensation Scheme:
The introduction of a threshold of greater than 5% degree of permanent impairment (DPI) to access common law damages. This applies to injuries from 15 October 2013. For injuries that occur over a period of time, the date of injury is considered to be the date of initial health practitioner consultation for the injury.
Prior to these legislative changes there was no threshold.
WorkCover Qld are working with the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland (OFSWQ) – the Regulator – to develop training for doctors on the new Guide and updating Notice of Assessment forms. The Regulator will publish the GEPI in the Queensland Government Gazette.
These changes are effective from 29 October 2013:
• Employment to be ‘the major significant contributing factor’ for psychological or psychiatric claims.
For physical injuries the definition remains unchanged stating ‘Employment to be ‘a major significant contributing factor’ for psychological or psychiatric claims’. Note the term ‘ the major significant contributing factor’, this is a much mpre stringemt test than a major significant contributing factor.
The committee recommendation was: The Committee recommends that the current definition of injury be retained in its current form with the exception of psychological injuries which are addressed separately in section 4.4.
• Employers can request a prospective worker to provide them with information about pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.
Disclosure of pre-existing conditions applies to ‘employment processes’ from 29 October 2013. An employer may ask a prospective worker in writing about pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. The request must be accompanied by specific information about the future duties and the implications if the worker fails to properly disclose their conditions. A worker may not be entitled to compensation or damages if they have knowingly made a false or misleading disclosure about an injury or condition and they suffer an aggravation of that injury or condition.
This provision is going to make it more difficult for people with any mental health problems to gain employment.
Bear in mind the reasons for these legislative changes:
The objectives of the Act are:
1. To implement the Queensland Government’s response to the Finance and Administration Parliamentary
Committee’s report on its inquiry into the operation of Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme.
2. To make changes to the basis for assessment of impairment and to align the method between the statutory and common law provisions of the scheme.