The Queensland workers’ compensation scheme, often known as “workers comp” or workplace injury insurance, offers financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury. Both physical injuries and psychological injuries are covered. The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 and the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 governs the workers’ compensation scheme in Queensland, Australia.

WorkCover Queensland is the primary provider of workers compensation insurance in Queensland. WorkCover Queensland carries out all workers’ compensation insurance functions, including underwriting, claims management, and regulation. Some larger employers (for example, Woolworths, Coles, Wesfarmers etc) are self-insured. This means they manage their own workers’ compensation claims. The same process applies to a workers’ compensation claim regardless of whether it is with WorkCover or a self-insured employer.

In Queensland, workers’ compensation is intended to cover workers who are injured or become ill on the job or while performing work-related responsibilities. This covers injuries or illnesses that occur on the job site, travelling to/from/between job sites, and those that may be caused by prolonged exposure to workplace dangers. Slips, stumbles, and falls; repetitive strain injuries; manual handling and exposure to dangerous substances or chemicals are prominent examples of the types of injuries and diseases covered by workers’ compensation in Queensland.

If you are a Queensland employee who sustains an injury or illness due to your job activities, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Employees who work for a Queensland-based employer but sustain an injury outside of Queensland can, in certain situations, still claim workers’ compensation benefits from the Queensland scheme.

These benefits include funding for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other expenses, in addition to wages.

If you are injured or fall ill at work in Queensland, you must complete the following procedures to lodge a claim for workers’ compensation:

  • Notify your employer immediately of the injury or illness, and fill out a workers’ compensation claim form.
  • Seek medical treatment and ask your treating to complete a workers’ compensation medical certificate.
  • Submit the claim form, workers’ compensation medical certificate and any supporting evidence, such as medical records, to WorkCover (or the self-insured employer). The claim can be lodged online, over the phone or your treating GP can lodge it on your behalf.

In Queensland, workers compensation claims are subject to time limits. Generally, you must lodge a WorkCover claim within six months after the date of the injury or illness. If the injury occurred over a period of time, you have six months from when you first saw a doctor about the injury. This six month time frame can be waived if you lodge a claim within 20 business days of assessed with an incapacity for work for the first time by a doctor. Otherwise, there are limited situations where the six month time frame can be extended.

You can seek a review of the decision if your workers’ compensation claim is denied. That is done by lodging an Application for Review with the Workers’ Compensation Regulator through the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations. An Application for Review must be lodged within three months of receiving WorkCover’s decision.

As the workers’ compensation scheme in Queensland is a state-based scheme, it is different to workers’compensation schemes that operate in other Australian states. It is crucial to be informed of your state’s individual laws, processses and time frames.

If you have issues concerning workers compensation or require assistance with submitting a claim, you can contact the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations or consult with an expert workers’ compensation lawyer, such as Travis Schultz & Partners – we have offices in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and on the Gold Coast.