Cleanaway and driver in AATA partial wins

Tribunal shows it will make decisions on the evidence, lawyer notes

Cleanaway and driver in AATA partial wins
Cleanaway gained some of what it wanted in the AATA


A fleet-owner has had a partial success in lessening its injured driver compensation load when the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (AATA) in a recent decision had something for both sides.

Commenting on the case Wragg and Cleanaway Operations Pty Ltd, hinging on provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, HBA Legal associate Naomi Adams points out that in cases before it, the AATA will focus on the evidence at hand when making decisions.

The driver sought ongoing compensation, due to a lessened capacity to work after breaking an arm in a 2015 accident and having an initial operation on it, as well as a second operation on his arm to relieve pain and tingling.

The company argued the driver was able to work at a full-income rate and that the second operation would provide little benefit.

Read about how Cleanaway bought Toxfree, here

The tribunal found in favour of the driver on the need for a second operation but, due to lack of supporting medical evidence on his ongoing incapacity, also for the company regarding ongoing compensation.

"When it comes to deciding whether proposed medical treatment is appropriate, the Tribunal will weigh up the potential risks with the benefit the treatment could provide to the worker," Adams says in an advisory note on the case.

"It is submitted that in most cases the Tribunal will give the worker the benefit of the doubt because it will assume he or she will not put their own health at risk.

"In terms of capacity to work, subjective complaints of ongoing symptoms as well as an increased need for treatment, will not be enough for a Tribunal to conclude that a worker was unfit for work. 

"Complaints such as those made by the applicant need to substantiated with evidence such as contemporaneous medical records."


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