The husband of a woman tragically killed when diving from the beach at Noosa Woods into the river on a Good Friday “Christmas” party has failed in his bid to recover workers’ compensation in respect of his deceased wife’s death.
Jukes Campbell suffered serious head and neck injuries as a result of the accident in the course of a barbecue in March 2013 organised by the social club at Dan Murphy’s Noosaville.
The event had been held in lieu of the Christmas party overlooked in December 2012. Attendance was voluntary. It was financed by sales to staff of confectionery and soft drinks.
All but two of the approximately 30 staff members attended with their families.
Around 3:00 pm Jukes and colleague Nicole Perry asked Dan Murphy’s manager Michael Smith if he would take photographs of them running into the Noosa River.
He agreed but to his surprise they both dived in after a running start, head first.
“More or less as soon as they both dove into the water,” Smith recounted “Nikki started screaming and I ran straight into the water and pulled Jukes out”.
He was joined by an off-duty lifesaver and members of the Noosa surf club. An ambulance was called and Ms Campbell was transported to the Noosa hospital where she died two days later.
Her husband Jonathan successfully applied for workers’ compensation but the award was overturned on appeal on the ground that employment was not “a significant contributing factor” to the injury.
Jonathon further appealed that decision to the Industrial Court where Justice Glen Martin concurred that the employer did nothing to induce or encourage Campbell to engage in the particular activity.
Accordingly, the employer had no liability and there was no workers’ compensation that should be paid as the dangerous act was not within the “scope of the activity” of attending the event.
The injury had been caused by Ms Campbell’s own decision to make the tragic dive, in his view, rather than with respect to any connection to her employment.