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Contractors and workplace injury.

Fun fact, I was today years old (well actually, it was a couple of weeks ago) when I realized that many, many massage therapists were not being appropriately covered for injuries that may occur in the workplace.

Love it or hate it, contracting agreements in one form or another are rife in the massage industry. It is fairly well known that in most contracting arrangements the business owner is responsible for paying the Superannuation contributions for the contractor. I know a lot don't, but that is the topic for a whole other blog.

Business owners are also legally mandated to provide a safe working environment for everyone, including contractors. This includes ensuring adequate insurance coverage (eg Workcover insurance) is in place to protect contractors in case of injury from work related injury.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance which provides support to workers injured at work. Support may include one-off lump sum payments, income replacement, medical and rehabilitation expenses. There are separate workers’ compensation schemes for workers in the Commonwealth and workers in each state and territory. Each scheme is established by legislation which sets out the coverage, eligibility criteria, entitlements and obligations. A full list is available below.

Just as the ATO has its own definition of a worker, so too does the Safe Work Authority in each state and territory of Australia. If you are deemed a "worker" for the purpose of Workers Compensation Insurance the premium must be paid by the business owner. They must declare the monies they pay you in their assessment and it is reflected in their premiums. In the vast majority of cases, this means that, should you be injured as a result of your work, then you will be covered by all applicable workers compensation entitlements.

It also means that the business owner has a responsibility to you under WHS law and that, even as a contractor, they are required to provide a safe work environment for you at all times. If they provide equipment for your use in their clinic then this must be fit for purpose, safe and appropriate. They must also allow for adequate breaks and ensure they have appropriate WHS policies and training in place. You, in turn, are required to follow all safe work practices and report any hazards immediately.

If you are working as a contractor, you need to make sure that you know exactly how you are classified. Just because a business owner states they are not required to not pay your Workcover insurance does not mean they are not legally obliged to! Check the links below and, if in doubt, call the appropriate state body and seek clarification. Failure to comply with the legal obligations can lead to severe consequences including hefty fines for business owners.

If you are injured in the workplace, ensure that you immediately report the injury and fill in an incident report. It may seem insignificant at the time, but, especially in our industry, we know how some minor ailment can cause some long-term issues.

Workers’ compensation authorities contact information:

NSW - State Insurance Regulatory Authority

Phone: 13 10 50

Qld - Office of Industrial Relations

Phone: 1300 362 128

Vic – WorkSafe Victoria

Phone: 1800 136 089

ACT - WorkSafe ACT

Phone: 13 22 81

SA – ReturnToWorkSA


Phone: 13 18 55

NT – NT WorkSafe Website:

Phone: 1800 250 713

WA – WorkCover WA

Phone: 1300 794 744

Tas – WorkSafe Tasmania

Phone: (03) 6166 4600 (outside Tasmania) or 1300 366 322 (within Tasmania)

Commonwealth - Comcare

Phone: 1300 366 979

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