On 19 June 2012 the Workers Compensation Act 1987 was substantially amended, one of those amendments was to greatly limit workers and their ability to claim benefits under the Workers Compensation Act for injuries sustained whilst on a journey to and from work.
In the case of Smith v Woolworths Limited (2017) NSW WCC 290 Ms Smith was employed by Woolworths and on the day of injury she drove her vehicle within the staff carpark. After parking her vehicle in the staff allocated carpark, she then walked along a walkway and just prior to going through the automatic doors, Ms Smith was attacked by a bird and she suffered a serious right eye injury.
The question was whether Ms Smith was still on a journey and if not, whether her injury arose during the course of her employment.
Arbitrator Harris decided that as Ms Smith had finished her journey as ‘She crossed the boundary of the land on which her place of employment was situated‘. It should be noted that the staff carpark and the complex are all under the one deposited plan.
It was held that Ms Smith was no longer on a journey, with the next question being whether the injury arose out of the course of her employment. It was held that Ms Smith was attacked by a bird in circumstances where the employment bought her to the very point where the injury occurred and hence on that basis the injury arose out of the course of her employment.
This case is a timely reminder as we enter the season of swooping magpies and the risk these native birds may pose to workers entering and leaving the workplace, as well as the entitlements available to workers if they are injured as a result of a swoop.
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