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ON Series - Endeavour - two key changes to get workers back to work faster

In this webinar Yvonne Paye, Manager for Injury Management at the Endeavor Foundation discusses how the Endeavour Foundation manage injuries in the workplace and promote their ‘Recover at work program’. She also discusses how important management support is to successful early return to work.

Yvonne describes the systems Endeavour have in place and offers ideas of how you can implement these into your workplace.

Read transcript

ON Series : Endeavour Foundation

On series – by Office of Industrial Relations

Facilitator

Welcome to this Office of Industrial Relations webcast as part of our ON.Series to promote rehabilitation and return to work best practice.

We are pleased to invite Endeavour Foundation to share their strategies for how they improved their rehabilitation and return to work system across their diverse Queensland workforce. The two key changes today are updating and changing the language that your workplace use and revitalise workplaces policies and procedures so they are clear and relevant for todays agile workforce.

The Endeavour Foundation won the Queensland Safe Work and Return to Work award for the Best Rehabilitation and return to work management system. They have also won the Excellence in Recovery at Work for Business award from the 2016 NSW Safe Work awards.

These rewards are recognition of the positive impacts these strategies have contributed to the improved RTW system.

We have the Endeavour Foundation’s Manager for Injury Management, Yvonne Paye here to give you some tips on how you can incorporate these strategies in your workplace.

Yvonne Paye

Hi my name is Yvonne Paye, Manager for Injury Management at the Endeavor Foundation. Thanks for having me along today to talk about some strategies that we have put in place to our workplace to assist with our recover at work policies processes.

Firstly Endeavour Foundation to give you some background on what we do. We predominately provide support to people with a disability. Nearly half of Endeavours workforce is made up of workers’ with an intellectual disability. We have 2500 support staff that support those people with a disability and as a result of some mergers and acquisitions over the last few years we also now have just over 400 apprentices and trainees. Endeavour has 350 sites spanning 265 locations across 3 states.

Those sites include accommodation and support learning and lifestyle services education services. Then we have 55 business services across the 3 states that provide employment to those people with a disability.

We do have challenges including our young workforce including our apprentices and trainees provide us with some challenging problems in relation to identification of safety of risks. We have put in place a YOLO program that was implemented by our Work Health and Safety Team that has addressed giving those apprentices empowering them to identify risk and report risk has certainly helped a lot.

From a policy and procedure and cultural perspective in relation to our return to work processes a number of years ago we sat down with a work health and safety team and identified some strategies that we wanted to put in place that would assist with making our policies and procedures better and literally what we do injury management as a whole. We wanted to make that a little streamlined and change the culture where we could. Very basically what we decided to do was change our language we wanted to become a little more positive in the unlucky event that somebody should be injured at work. We wanted to change the language that we used throughout our culture in relation to rehabilitation and return to work so we have set about our policies and procedure processes changing that wording from basically from rehabilitation and return to work to just simply recover at work.

No longer do we have a suitable duties program or a suitable duties plan we have a recover at work plan. We have a Recover at work Kit. We have Recover at Work Coordinators. So we think the word recover is much more positive and much more supportive and obviously we want people to be at work because we know that that’s the best thing for our injured workers and its certainly going to have the best outcome for all.

In relation to overall return to work for our workers certainly and for our people with a disability we have support staff that can help them with wound care if needed, help administer medication should they require pain medication or should they need that at home. Supervisors are also asked to remind our people if they need more regular breaks than they would normally have when they have an injured limb. To be mindful the worker isn’t using that injured limb.

We also have a commitment to our families and carer’s for those people with a disability. You know quite often if they have one of the people they care for injured it adds a bigger duress to the household so they really appreciate that recover at work and early return to work philosophy.

Because Endeavour is such a diverse organisation with so many different work sites we also have the added capacity to be able to place workers at alternative work sites. For example should we have a support worker with an injured back who can’t return and initially return to the pre-injury site we can place that person into one of our recycle clothing stores where they might sort clothing, provide customer service, have seated duties.

So we are very very lucky in that way and certainly our executive and senior management have been very supportive of that flexibility that we have within our workplace. We are also currently working very closely with some other departments in relation to working from home and the ability to have people work from home and in the short term should they not be able to initially return to their pre-injury role.

Another idea that we implemented, another initiative is our injury assist hotline. Now the injury assist hotline is an external services that we pay a fee to access provided by a company named Direct Health Solutions.

Now what that involves is should a worker be injured at work they notify their manager or supervisor and together they would sit and ring the 1800 number now at the end of the line is a fully qualified nurse who triages the injury. She asks the worker specific questions similar to what their doctor or a ED nurse might ask. Questions like what have you done? What are your injuries? What’s your pain level? Literally enough questions to be able to ascertain at the end of the conversation whether or not the person 1) Needs to seek medical treatment or 2) Can safely go back to work and have the conditional injury monitored.

Obviously this service doesn’t discount the need for 000 should somebody be injured. All of our staff are first aid qualified and they would certainly call emergency should the injury deem that necessary. But getting back to the nurse, should the worker be required to see a medical practitioner/doctor for treatment the nurse has the capacity to call a preferred medical provider and that particular worker will be placed under the care of that doctor as a preferred patient so they get straight in to see the doctor.

The hotline also has the capacity to send our paperwork to the appointment so we have a letter outlining to doctors what our recover at work processes are and the support mechanisms that we can put in place for our workers. They also provide the doctor with our recover at work kit. We have a very good basis of early intervention and more importantly support for our workers.

Not long after nurse takes the call they notify the recover at work team via email who then in turn notify the relevant parties and can talk to the injured worker very quickly. The nurse hotline has been a wonderful support. We have received nothing but positive feedback especially the sites that provide employment to people with a disability. It’s a wonderful level of support for those people and also gives peace of mind to our supervisors and line management.

We did have some barriers not only with the nurse hotline but also with our new recover at work processes in relation to getting our message out to our employees. As you can imagine with a staff base of 5500 people half of those being people with a disability although we have an internal communications team and we could send lots of emails and lots of alerts to our staff there are obviously some people who don’t have access to email. We have had some nice and colourful bright posters printed so we had those sent out to all the sites.

We are working through it. We also rely heavily on our health and safety team who have monthly area safety improvement committees. We rely on them to share the message with managers and staff alike in relation to our recover at work process and our injury hotline. Sometimes it’s not until its needed that people realise the importance of it or how simple the process is to follow and to use.

Overall the benefits we have realised as a result are obviously our health and safety team always on the ball with updating those sort of policies and procedures but we have achieved a massive reduction in our overall workers’ compensation premium in the last few years, which has been for a not for profit organisation that can mean that dollars can go back to providing support for the people with a disability. That’s literally off our bottom line.

We have also managed to decrease our loss time injury frequency rate to about 8.5-9% so that is one for our type of industry we feel that’s best practice and it is something that we just want to continually get better and better at. That’s an all-time best for Endeavour Foundation so literally monitoring these policies and processes is and doing what we have done has a very big impact on that.

Thanks to everybody who has taken the time to listen today and I can’t say enough of how our recover at work processes have assisted with Endeavour Foundations return to work and early return to work ethos and culture.

Facilitator

Thank you for listening today and we will have more presentations like this on our On Series visit our website at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au

[End of Transcript]

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Last updated
14 August 2017

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