• Helen Wendelborn
    Hi all, I have a staff member who was diagnosed with a back sprain. It was accepted by ACC as a workplace injury. The doctor also picked up something else unrelated, for which he referred the staff member to hospital. As a result of the thorough hospital checkup, it has been found out that the staff member actually has arthritis in his spine. I can see that this may or may not be the cause of the initial pain that was put down to a sprain. I am wondering whether I should engage with ACC at this point as I think that there may be further claims linked to this issue. Can anyone please point me in the right direction? We will also be working with our staff member to minimise his risks of further injury at work too of course.
  • Andrew

    ACC will send you a blue letter headed "Employee Claim"

    Down the bottom it give you the option to call 0800 222 096 if you disagree the claim is work related.

    They will send you a form on why you disagree. They won't take your word for it. You will need a medical specialist opinion. Attach the arthritis diagnosis and see how you go.

    I assume there was a specific event in your Injury register that points to something that caused the sprain? If so it is worth an investigation to see if that was indeed a probable cause
  • Helen Wendelborn
    Thank you Andrew, the staff member had been lifting heavy items that day and assumed that his back pain was related to overdoing it. It could be either, really. What are the pros and cons of raising this with ACC, do you know?
  • Andrew
    If the claim is accepted all claim costs, including earnings compo get put against your employer account experience rating. Depends on how big your company is and how big an issue it is.

    In principle I say to staff expect me to challenge an ACC claim if I don't see the incident in the Accident Book. Gives them a wee incentive to report stuff.

    I have no time for malingerers who try to fob off their non-work claims onto the employer. So I will challenge any claim I dont think belongs on my account. Mainly because I like to have a clean a record as possible. So if Worksafe or Immigration or whoever comes a knocking they don't get the idea we are a reckless employer. Consequently I pretty much always only have to deal with genuine work claims. Though I am about to cast an eye over a carpal tunnel claim just lodged by an employee who left 8 months ago.

    The Experience Rating part doesn't actually bother me. The impact isn't enough of an incentive to get me excited.

    I also don't work on "assumptions" - a doctors view is key.

    Also there is a difference between pain and an injury.
  • Helen Wendelborn
    Thanks Andrew, that was very helpful.
  • Franz Assenmacher
    Hi Helen
    I believe if the injury claim is genuine, be it home, sport or work related then as health and safety professionals we need to get involved.

    Yes it can effect experience rating, However if we say we value our people then we need to get involved.
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