In South Australia, workers are protected by the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) (“the Act”) if they suffer an injury at work.

A worker is entitled to different types of compensation if their injury arises “out of or in the course of employment”. Section 7 of the Act provides a number of circumstances which are considered out of or in the course of employment. Including;

  1. attendance at your place of employment on a working day but before your working day begins; during an authorised break or after your day has finished while you are preparing to leave;
  2. attendance at an educational institution for the purposes of an apprenticeship or at your employers request/approval; and
  3. attendance at a place to receive a medical service, or to obtain a medical certificate and includes injuries sustained in the course of receiving treatment for a work injury.

The Act specifically excludes a worker who injures themselves while engaging in a social or sporting activity unless they are specifically directed to by their employer, or the activity is considered part of their duties.

The Act also specifies in which circumstances an injury which is sustained in the course of a journey may constitute a work injury. In some circumstances this may include a journey between a worker’s home and their place of work, however there must be a sufficient connection between the accident and the workers employment.

Once a worker has established that the injury occurred out of or in the course of employment, they must also establish their employment was a significant contributing cause of the injury.

There are a number of cases that interpret the above provision. The Court will consider the facts of each matter on a case by case basis. See here for a case study on Return to Work of South Australia v Valentine and Karrara Hair and Beauty Centre [2022] SAET 134, a matter dealing with an injury suffered at a work Christmas function.

If you are unsure whether your injury or circumstances meet the above definition, or would like some advice, contact our office on 08 8213 1000 to speak to one of our workers compensation experts.