Being an employer or business owner is hard enough. Whether you’re looking for work, negotiating prices with customers, supervising employees or actually doing the work yourself, you have the primary duty of care for work health and safety (WHS) in the workplace.
What is duty of care?
Duty of care for WHS basically means you have the legal obligation to ensure your employees, visitors and others to your workplace are kept safe. That might include (but isn’t limited to):
- Properly maintaining work and customer areas
- Ensuring machinery and equipment is safe & properly maintained
- Providing information, training, instruction and supervision
- Making sure chemicals are handled and stored safely
- Making sure electrical cords are not a trip hazard
What about Workers Compensation Insurance?
All employers are required to have workers compensation. Section 155 of the Workers Compensation Act requires that workers compensation insurance to be:
- For employees
- For an unlimited amount
- For any injury
What if You Don’t Have a Policy?
If you don’t have a policy in place, and a claim for workers compensation is made against you by the injured worker, the NSW Workers Insurance (iCare) may accept the claim and proceed to make workers compensation benefits to the injured worker. If so, iCare will likely seek to recover the payments made to the injured worker from you by issuing a section 145 Notice of Reimbursement.
To make the matter worse, in addition to a claim of reimbursement from iCare, the NSW Government State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) can also issue you with a Double Avoided Premium Penalty Notice! Basically, SIRA will charge you DOUBLE the insurance premium you didn’t pay!
Recently, a client of ours who did not have workers compensation insurance received a notice from iCare seeking reimbursement of some $64,000.00 of workers compensation benefits paid to an injured worker over a 6 month period, as well as a penalty notice from SIRA demanding over $16,000.00 for the period when an insurance policy wasn’t in place!!! Imagine getting an invoice for that!
What Can You Do if You Receive a Notice?
If you receive any notices from iCare regarding a workers compensation claim, it is important that you act on it without delay. Time may be of the essence, for example, in the case of a section 145 Notice of Reimbursement, you will only have 28 days from receiving the Notice to apply to the Personal Injury Commission to dispute it. Similarly, you will need to apply to dispute any penalty notices from SIRA in timely manner.
We can advise you on the next steps. Call Us Now – (02) 9744 9236