Surveillance During Work Cover Claims within Limits | News
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Surveillance during Work Cover Claims within Limits

Overstated work cover claims are fairly common in Australia. We don’t hold with this practice, because it could divert funds away from deserving cases. Fraudulent claimants sometimes receive legal advice to help them cover up the truth.


Employers may try to avoid their responsibilities by making counter accusations. Surveillance during work cover claim processing is a fair way to establish the balanced truth. However, there are limits to what’s allowable to protect individual rights.

From the Horse’s Mouth – What’s the Official Take on This?


Work Safe sets the following rules in place. These follow the Federal Privacy Commissioner’s Optical Surveillance in Commonwealth Administration Guidelines dated February 1992.  


When Is Surveillance Permissible?

Surveillance involves monitoring of activities and behaviour to gather information. In the case of surveillance during work cover claims, the purpose is often to assess the subject’s physical condition. For example, they may claim they have to walk with a stick. However, if surveillance spots them playing footie this does raise questions.


Work Safe says surveillance is permissible, if one or more of the following is true:

1… Alternative investigation methods are inadequate after thorough consideration.

2… The Work Safe claim is of such a nature that surveillance is a suitable technique.

3… There are reasons to suspect the claimant is misrepresenting their physical state.

4… The claimant is receiving compensation claims for which they are not entitled.

5… The value of information from surveillance potentially outweighs the intrusion.

Practical Aspects of Surveillance and Work Cover Claims


Insurance companies and their agents may legally obtain information about a Work Safe claimant’s state of health, with certain limits. For example, Smith’s Lawyers say they may ‘conduct surveillance of their activities to determine whether they are as physically restricted to the extent that they claim’.

This could involve a private investigator video recording or photographing them ‘while going about their daily activities in public’. The investigator could also monitor their social media posts for information conflicting with their claim. The important principle to note is both types of surveillance take place in public space.


Hence it follows that surveillance into work place claims may not intrude into private space, including monitoring phone conversations. None the less, an experienced private investigator could quite easily spot behaviour suggesting a work place claim is not supported by the true facts of the case, as they observed.

Sources for This Article

Work Safe Surveillance Guidelines of Agents

Legal Limits of Work to Cover Claims

 If you would like to have a free initial confidential consulation about a matter please call 1300 553 788 and speak to a licenced private investigator.

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