3 April, 2024

If injured at work people urged sure to see own doctor

EVERYONE has the right to be safe at work, but unfortunately people do get injured in their workplace.

Rachael’s view
Rachael’s view

Recent Bureau of Statistics figures show that over 12 months across Australia, more than 497,000 people had a work-related injury or illness.

The most common causes of work injuries include things like lifting, bending, tripping and slipping – and our Far North region is not immune to such incidents.

The aftermath of a work injury can be a stressful time for the injured worker and their loved ones.  As well as dealing with the injury itself, the worker must also consider the potential impact on their job and livelihood.

It is during these stressful times that some employers direct injured workers to see a company doctor – saying it’s more convenient for all involved.

This practice seems to be more common in regional areas, where bosses can take advantage of the remote location and the fewer options for medical care.

In large workplaces where there are company doctors on-site, workers may also feel greater pressure to make an appointment there as the employer has suggested.

However, in my years of working with injured people, I always recommend that workers go to see their own doctor if they want the best care.

Not only is your own doctor someone you feel comfortable talking to, but they know you and your medical history – including any existing health conditions or illnesses.

In my view, your own doctor is best placed to diagnose you, recommend the most appropriate treatment, and provide you with any ongoing care.

You will also appreciate having your own doctor support you through the rehabilitation process as you navigate the return to work.

Workers should remember they have the right to choose their own doctor – and decline a request by their employer to see a company doctor.

It’s important to note too that everyone has the right to privacy in their medical appointments, and these include injured workers.

You should never let a company representative sit in on your medical appointment – no matter how well-meaning the offer may seem.

It is not standard procedure after a workplace injury and could be a tactic to ensure the circumstances or severity of the injury are discussed in a way that benefits the employer.

And remember – if you have seen a company doctor after an injury at work, it’s never too late to change to your own doctor.

Rachael McMahon is a senior associate and office leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’ Cairns office. This legal information is general in nature and should not be regarded as specific legal advice.  Contact Ms McMahon  on for specific questions.


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