Work-related injuries


The types of work-related injuries covered by ACC are determined by legislation, currently the Accident Compensation Act 2001.

Section 26 of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 defines a 'personal injury', which includes:

  • death

  • a physical injury or mental injury caused by a physical injury

  • mental injury caused by criminal act

  • damage to dentures or prostheses that replace a part of the human body.

Section 25 defines 'accident', which includes:

  • a specific event, or a series of events, that involves the application of a force (including gravity) or resistance external to the human body, or involves the sudden movement of the body to avoid such a force or resistance external to the human body

  • the inhalation or oral ingestion of any solid, liquid, gas, or foreign object on a specific occasion, which kind of occurrence does not include the inhalation or ingestion of a virus, bacterium, protozoa, or fungi unless that inhalation or ingestion is the result of the criminal act of a person other than the injured person

  • a burn, or exposure to radiation or rays of any kind, on a specific occasion, which kind of occurrence does not include a burn or exposure caused by exposure to the elements

  • the absorption of any chemical through the skin

  • any exposure to the elements, or to extremes of temperature or environment.

The Act 2001 also covers work-related gradual process, disease, or infection. Gradual process is defined as:

Changes that result in personal injury and develop slowly and progressively over time, although not necessarily over a definable period, such as:

  • effects of exposure to noise or fumes over a few months at a workplace

  • physical deterioration resulting from an activity such as keyboarding where there are no specific events involving impact or strain

  • progressive degenerative change due to the ageing process.

The second category covers occupational overuse syndromes, a range of conditions caused/contributed to by work factors resulting in localised inflammations, compression syndromes, and pain syndromes.

The Accident Compensation Act 2001, s28(1), defines a 'work-related personal injury' as an injury that happens when the worker is:

  • at his or her place of employment, including when the place moves [as it does for a taxi driver], or is a place to or through which the worker moves, or

  • having a rest or meal break at work, or

  • travelling to or from work in transport provided by the employer, or

  • travelling from work in order to receive treatment for a work-related injury.

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