Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Workplace injury review delayed

Investigation | 24 February 2022
National Roads Authority (NRA) , Risk Management Unit

We received two separate but related complaints from the same complainant about 18 months apart from one another. In the first complaint, it was alleged the NRA had failed to complete an “accident/injury at work form” for a work- related injury that occurred in 2019. It was further alleged that the National Roads Authority (NRA) subsequently failed to report this injury to the Risk Management Unit (RMU). In the second complaint, it was further alleged that the RMU repeatedly failed to respond to queries regarding the workers compensation claim.

Our investigation of both complaints found that maladministration had occurred both in the delay in responding to the complainant and in the failure of government agencies to follow their own policies in relation to an at work injury.

Findings included:

  • The NRA did not follow its own procedures in that it did not complete an employee injury form with the employee, that the form was not signed by both employee and supervisor and that some responses on the form were factually incorrect
  • There was no written policy setting out what should happen when an employee suffers an injury in the workplace and who is responsible for reporting such incidents
  • There is a substantial future risk that other employee injuries may not be properly reported or systematically addressed, leaving other workers vulnerable
  • Delays in responding to the complainant were accepted by the government and its insurer/loss adjuster
  • Delays occurred partly because the RMU did not follow its own policy, which states it is supposed to provide regular updates to the injured employee.
  • That the conduct of the two government departments in this matter led to two separate complaints to the Ombudsman involving the same situation.

The Ombudsman made a number of recommendations relative to this investigation. These included: 

  • The NRA restart the injury claims process with the complainant
  • The NRA should establish reporting procedures for work-related injuries and should train HR employees on their roles in relation to such claims
  • The NRA should publish information about reporting workplace injuries to ensure a consistent approach
  • That both the NRA and RMU should consider issuing an apology to the complainant for the handling of this situation thus far
  • The RMU should publish both its internal complaints process and its policies on workplace injury procedures on its website
  • The RMU should continue to work with government’s Strategic Research Implementation Unit (SRIU) to find a solution to the current lack of local workers’ compensation legislation

Additional recommendations were made to the Ministry of Finance in this case:

  • The Ministry should review the actions of RMU employees in this matter with the objective of providing guidance and training on the need for urgency in reporting or responding to such issues in the future.
  • The Ministry’s internal complaints process and form should be made available to all members of the public.
  • The Ministry should inform its staff of the role, duties and powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, in order to avoid future delays with our requests for assistance or the production of documents. 

The Ombudsman’s office will continue to monitor the implementation of these recommendations in the coming months.