Injured Personal Care Attendant – What Are My Rights?
Personal care attendants and other health care workers have the right to be safe at work.
Employers have an obligation to take reasonable care for the health and safety of personal carers, employed in both hospital and community settings. The responsibilities contained in the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety (“OH&S”) Regulations apply to all employees, including full time, part time and casual employees, as well as contractors who can be deemed workers in certain situations.
Unfortunately, personal care attendants face a high risk of developing injuries at work, due to the heavy and physical nature of their work, when providing care and support to elderly and unwell patients. Further, personal care attendants working in a community setting are at an increased risk of injury, often working alone and with inadequate support.
Injuries commonly sustained by personal care attendants, nurses and other aged care workers include:
- Soft tissue injuries from lifting and manual handling of patients and equipment;
- Injuries due to undertaking heavy and repetitive work, with inadequate breaks or being under – staffed;
- Slips and falls from working on wet or uneven surfaces in patient’s homes;
- Physical and psychological injuries arising from occupational violence such as assaults, threats, harassment and intimidation.
What should I do if I am injured at work?
You should follow the below steps if you are injured at work:
- Seek medical treatment immediately and arrange an appointment with your GP
- Fill in a WorkCover Claim Form as soon as practicable and report your injury to your employer within 30 days
- Give your employer your WorkCover claim with an initial 14 day WorkCover Certificate of Capacity
- Contact Fortitude Legal for a free initial appointment to learn more about your potential entitlements.
What can I claim?
If your WorkCover claim is accepted, you may be eligible for the following types of assistance:
- Weekly payments of compensation for your lost wages;
- Payment of reasonable medical expenses and like expenses (for example, GP consultations, medication, physiotherapy, counselling from a psychologist, home help and occupational rehabilitation);
- No fault impairment benefit if you have sustained a permanent injury.
If you have sustained a serious injury because of your employer’s negligence, you may also be entitled to claim significant lump sum compensation (common law damages) for your pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity.
Strict time limits apply to WorkCover claims, so contact your local expert at Fortitude Legal to have a no obligation chat.