Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2140 14
19/12/2014
B. Alexander - J. Blogg - C. Salama
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (fighting)
  • In the course of employment (fighting)

The worker was a construction site superintendent. He injured his knee in an altercation with a co-worker who was the health and safety co-ordinator. The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the injury.

The co-worker confronted the worker, wanting to know why the worker had stopped trades people from throwing out garbage at a certain location on the construction site. The worker replied that the employer had asked him to move the garbage container to a different location. The co-worker stated that the worker had no authority to do that. The co-worker grabbed the worker and threw him to the floor. The worker twisted his knee as he fell. When the worker got up, the co-worker was screaming at him and moving towards him in a threatening manner. The worker pushed the co-worker away.
Board policy provides that entitlement may be accepted for fights resulting solely over work if the injured worker was not the aggressor and did not provoke the fight. It further states that aggressors and participants in a fight take themselves out of the course of their employment.
In this case, the altercation occurred at the work site and was in regard to a work activity. The worker was not the aggressor in the fight and did not provoke it. The injury occurred when the worker was thrown to the ground. The worker did not become a participant in the fight when he subsequently pushed the co-worker away. The worker was not retaliating. Rather, he was acting in self-defence, in a normal and natural way.
The Panel concluded that the worker was in the course of employment at the time of the injury. The appeal was allowed.