A senior mining company executive died suddenly from a heart attack whilst training in a hotel gymnasium during an overseas work trip.

The South Australian Employment Tribunal ruled that the employee’s death occurred in the course of his employment resulting in the late employee’s widow being awarded workers compensation payments.

The Tribunal looked at the employer’s workplace policy which required that workers need to be fit for work. It followed that using the gymnasium in the context of work travel and in accordance with employer’s expectations meant that the employee was exercising in the course of his employment.

In finding that the fitness training had been implicitly encouraged by the employer the Tribunal distinguished that it was different to activities that were not encouraged such as using the hotel bar facility.

Take Out Point: Employee activities that occur after work can be considered as occurring in the course of employment – depending upon the activity.

See: Palmbachs v Return to Work Corporation of SA

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