FSBS claimed that in August 2019 he had injured his lower back again. He said he was carrying a stack of six chairs to the school oval to prepare for a karaoke event when he had to seek help from a student with low back pain. He subsequently filed another workers’ compensation claim. Comcare denied being required to pay compensation and FSBS requested a review of its decision before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The main questions for the Tribunal were whether FSBS suffered from an “illness” or “worsening” of an existing illness and, if so, whether his employment was a significant contributing factor. Despite inconsistencies in recollection of the events of the FSBS, after reviewing the testimony of several medical experts, the Tribunal was satisfied that he had developed soft tissue tension as a result of the incident.
It was not disputed that FSBS’s work duties included transporting chairs and, as such, the Tribunal was satisfied that his strain on the soft tissues had occurred “in the course of his employment”, as ‘demands the law. He also found that while the soft tissue strain of FSBS was not considered a “disease”, it also met the legal requirements to be considered a physical “injury”.
Ultimately, the Tribunal found that FSBS’s soft tissue deformity caused “partial incapacity for work” and upheld its case.
Key points to remember
- When considering a claim for workers’ compensation, the Commission will take into account both the recollection of the complainant’s events, as well as medical evidence and expert opinions.
- The Tribunal will also take into account the previous injuries of an employee.
- Employers have a duty of care to ensure a safe workplace for employees
- When heavy lifting is required, employers should implement safety protocols, including the use of carts or a buddy system