The New South Wales Workers Compensation Act included coverage for workers injured on a journey to and from work. The coverage was substantially changed in 2012.

These amendments apply to injuries after the 19 June 2012. There now must be a 'real and substantial connection' between employment and the accident.

What does a 'real and substantial connection' mean? Each case is different. The Workers Compensation Commission has considered this section in several recent cases.

In Knapp and Ballina Shire Council (1), an arbitrator of the Workers Compensation Commission found that there was a real and substantial connection between his employment and the accident when a worker was using his mobile phone to speak to his supervisor about work-related matters 1. The Commission also found that the worker was entitled to compensation even though he was charged and convicted of culpable driving.

In other cases, the Commission has found that an employer is liable for injury sustained by a worker where, after a particularly hard day of work at a chicken farm, a worker fell asleep at the wheel of his motor vehicle2. Similarly, the Workers Compensation Commission found that a young worker who rose early each day and travelled for some hours was entitled to receive compensation 3.

This provision does not relate to some workers. These include police officers, paramedics, and firefighters. Coal miners may also be exempt.

What to do?

If you have been injured travelling to and from work, you should obtain advice. At Kells, we are happy to see you on a no win no fee basis to discuss these matters.

Please note that if you have been injured caused by some else's fault, you may have other rights to make further claims. Time limits apply and you should act quickly to obtain advice.


1Knapp v Ballina Shire Council [2018] NSWWCC 94

2Naivalu v Ready Workforce [2018] NSWWCC 28

3Eather v Skillset Limited [2020] NSWWCC 11

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.