Your questions answered: Does workers’ compensation insurance cover travel between worksites?

By Portner Press on August 13th, 2019
  1. Fire, Emergency & Incidents
  2. Workers' Compensation

Q
Are our workers covered if they have an accident while riding share bikes (e.g Lime bikes) while travelling from our office to a work or construction site?

Would our company also have a public liability claim to deal with if our employee was also at fault?

A
Much of this response is drawn from chapter W1 Workers’ Compensation in the Health & Safety Handbook and we would suggest you review its contents to help with your enquiry.

Travel-related workers’ compensation claims

Around Australia, several jurisdictions treat ‘travel to and from work claims’ (i.e. daily commute to and from work) and ‘work-related travel claims’ (i.e. travelling somewhere as directed by your employer) differently.

Generally, injuries that occur where a worker has been directed to travel from one place of work to another are compensable where it can be shown that a worker’s employment was a significant or substantial cause of the injury.

In the example of a worker travelling from one place of work to another on a bicycle, it may be determined that the worker’s employment was not a significant or substantial cause of the injury if, for example and without limitation:

  • there was serious and wilful misconduct of the worker (such as alcohol or drug use); or
  • the injury resulted from a medical or other condition of the worker and the journey did not cause or contribute to the injury.

Public liability claim

An injury to a worker will be covered by either public liability or workers’ compensation. In practical terms the worker would lodge a workers’ compensation claim. If accepted, it is up to the workers’ compensation insurer to recover amounts from the public liability insurer if it can. Any other damage/claim as a result of an accident may or may not fall under your public liability insurance depending on its terms.

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