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Rehabilitation and return to work

Return to work

Helping workers return to their normal job after they have experienced an injury is called ‘return to work’.

Return to work is a gradual process to support a worker back to their normal job as quickly and safely as possible after they have been injured. The return to work process is exactly the same for both physical and psychological injuries.

Returning to work following a workplace injury is a necessary step in a worker’s recovery. Workers who stay at work or gradually return to work as they recover from their injury often recover much quicker.

Many people work together to help a worker return to their job. This includes the worker, employer, supervisor, doctors, insurer and workplace specialists, such as rehabilitation providers.

The worker is the central focus of the return to work process. They have the best knowledge and understanding of the injury that they have experienced. Workers can often identify what support they need from the people around them to help them achieve their return to work goals.

The employer’s support with offering suitable duties and helping the worker when they first return to the workplace can ensure a successful outcome.

Return to work is most successful when the worker actively contributes to setting personal goals and negotiating arrangements for them to return to their normal job.

Workplace rehabilitation

Workplace rehabilitation is a step-by-step process that allows workers to regain control and independence in their life after experiencing an injury or illness. It also ensures the worker’s earliest possible return to work.

Workplace rehabilitation is initiated or managed by an employer. The employer helps their injured or ill workers return to the workplace and perform work as they get better.

This process helps the worker maintain a daily routine, allowing the worker to participate in work activities rather than staying at home.

In addition to better outcomes for the worker’s overall health and recovery, supporting workers to participate in workplace rehabilitation at the workplace can benefit an employer by reducing disruption impacting productivity.

Last updated
14 June 2019

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