Advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the centralised website for information on the Northern Territory Governments response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Employers and workers should monitor the Coronavirus website for the latest information and advice for the Northern Territory or follow the SecureNT Facebook page.

Coronavirus and workplace safety

Under the work health and safety (WHS) laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or manage the risks arising from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

To ensure all Australian workplaces receive the most up-to-date information, Safe Work Australia will publish the latest information on managing the risks from Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace on their website.

Coronavirus and workers compensation

The Return to Work Act 1986 (the Act) defines an injury, in relation to a worker, as a physical or mental injury arising out of or in the course of the worker's employment and includes a disease.

A virus (like COVID-19) is likely to be considered under the disease provisions of the Act.

For a disease to be covered it must arise out of or in the course of a workers employment.

NT WorkSafe does not make liability decisions on claims. This is done by the approved insurers and self-insurers in the Northern Territory.

For liability to be accepted, an insurer would need to be satisfied that the employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of the worker contracting the virus.

For viruses, it can be difficult to accurately determine the exact time and place of contraction. As a result, it may be difficult to determine that employment was the real, proximate or effective cause of the worker contracting the virus.

However, where a worker's employment puts them at greater risk of contracting the virus the significant contribution test may be easier to meet. For example, if the employment involves:

  • travel to an area with a known viral outbreak; or
  • activities that include engagement or interaction with people who have contracted the virus (e.g. health workers).

Each claim would need to be considered on its individual merits, taking into account individual circumstances and evidence.

Coronaviruses like COVID-19, can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory syndromes.

In the early stages of the outbreak where there are limited numbers of known infections, there is potential to track exposure.

However, as the virus becomes more prevalent within communities it will be difficult to identify where a person was exposed to the virus and that it occurred out of or in the course of the worker's employment as with the common cold and flu.

Self-isolation does not mean a person is suffering from an injury or disease.

It should be noted that management action taken on reasonable grounds and in a reasonable manner by or on behalf of the worker’s employer is not considered to be a mental injury for the purposes of the Act. Employers following mandated government instructions could be viewed as reasonable management.

If you have concerns about the management of your claim, contact your claims manager. The following provides the generic workers compensation contact numbers for insurers and self-insurers:

Insurer or Self Insurer Contact details
Allianz (08) 8982 8333
Catholic Church (08) 9421 6000
CGU 1300 558 921
Coles 1300 223 096 or (07) 3347 8104
Gallagher Bassett 1800 931 035
GIO (08) 6188 0990
Nominal Insurer (08) 8981 0266
QBE (08) 8982 3877
TIO 1300 130 664
Westpac 0402 134 373
Woolworths (08) 8127 1318

Available resources

Resources to help employers and workers manage the risk arising from Coronavirus (COVID-19):