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Dec 18

​ When Star Wars Meets Qld Personal Injury – Episode 1: Disgruntled Stormtrooper

Friday, December 18, 2015

Today's letter comes from a galaxy far, far away...

Dear East Coast Injury Lawyers,

My name is Stormtrooper FN-1313. I am part of the garrison unit stationed on Starkiller Base. One of my jobs is to do routine searches of the perimeter and when needed, put the hangars on lockdown to prevent prisoners from escaping.

I am also learning to get my pilot’s license to eventually become promoted to TIE Fighter pilot.

I am writing because of a problem in our workplace. One of our senior managers, Mr Kylo Ren, is prone to fits of anger and destroying company property with his lightsaber. I am concerned that his behaviour will expose our workers to potentially unsafe workplace conditions including an increased risk of burn injury from flying sparks and debris, as well as shutting down the lighting and exposing us to increased risk of slip and fall injury from loose cables.

Further, our gear is designed to filter out smoke, but not toxins. I worry that his negligence may lead to a breach in our filtration system and the release of poisonous fumes. If that happens, we have about an ewok’s chance in a rancor pit of not contracting any airborne sickness.

He has done this on numerous occasions, yet no action has been taken against him. Of course, I am not one to question the First Order. However, I am simply concerned for our well-being and would like to know more about our general legal rights under Imperial workers laws.

I am a bit intimidated by the complexity of star system jurisdictions but I was wondering if you may be able to help nonetheless.

Sincerely yours,

FN-1313

 

Dear FN-1313,

Thank you for your enquiry. While I am sure there are more nuances in worker laws enacted by the Empire, it seems that you can benefit from an understanding of the law based on Queensland worker rights.

All employers have a duty of care to protect employees from reasonably foreseeable harm in the workplace. This duty of care also extends to accountability for the actions of management including your senior manager.

This duty of care also requires them to provide you with reasonable safety protocols and personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate or prevent reasonably foreseeable risks that arise in the course of your employment. With respect to your gear’s limitations, I recommend that your concern is something you should bring up with another senior manager if you are uncomfortable dealing with Kylo Ren. Preferably, you should accompany your request with some form of writing for your records and to use as evidence if needed.

Another important employer responsibility is also making sure that workers are covered by employment insurance that is meant to compensate them for injuries and loss of income in the event of a workplace injury.

If an injury occurs out of or in the course of employment, then you would be entitled to workers compensation under Queensland WorkCover insurance (or a company’s own insurance if they are self-insured.) I believe the equivalent for you would be StormCover.

Once a WorkCover (or StormCover) claim has been lodged, then you may also sue your employer for damages if they are liable for negligence in causing the accident and injury.

If a workplace is unwilling to discipline a senior manager for his/her unsafe actions, then it is important to bring those concerns forward to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland so they may investigate. Your equivalent I believe is Workplace Health and Safety Starkiller Base.

Finally, WorkCover (StormCover) insurance also protects you for journey claims between your home and place of employment. In order to be protected by workplace legislation, the worker needs to have started the journey without any significant delays or deviations. A journey is not considered to have started if an injury occurs within the boundary of your home.

Keep that in mind if you eventually pilot a TIE Fighter and are expected to travel regularly in the course of your employment.

I hope these little tips help.

Sincerely yours,

East Coast Injury Lawyers