A worker’s knee injury suffered during a cricket match between shifts of work was found to be compensable in a recent decision in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (the Tribunal).
It is generally a requirement for compensation that a worker must sustain their injury “in the course” of their employment, or that it “arises” from their employment.
In this circumstance, a Fly-in Fly-out miner was working a roster which required a transition from seven night shifts to seven day shifts with a 24-hour period of rehabilitation in between. He successfully argued that in order for him to re-set his sleep patterns and be ready for the next shift of work, he participated in a game of cricket as a means of staying awake.
The Tribunal held that the employer’s “Code of Conduct and Policies” imposed a duty upon the worker to ensure that he was fit for work. The worker was under a specific obligation to manage his rostered time off to prevent the effects of fatigue from impacting on his ability to perform his work. Because of this, the cricket game formed part of the worker’s employment.
Therefore, it was found the knee injury arose from his employment and was compensable.
A key take away from this decision is that if you have employees working split shifts and/or you have policies that my provide a direction to an employee during a break in shifts, then those policies may link any injury suffered by the worker during their break, to their actual work.