Looking for inspiration about how to improve your return to work outcomes? Check out these films, for real life examples of how Queensland employers from a range of different industries have implemented practices to improve their return to work outcomes and support injured workers to get back to work.
Vac Group - Communication is the key to our success
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Anita Johnstone Film
On Screen Text
My names Anita Johnstone and I'm the Human resources manager here at VAC Group of companies and also return to work coordinator and we do asset protection in the civil construction industry so we do non-destructive digging, and ground penetrating radar and sub surfacing utility engineering.
We have around 150 staff and the majority of our staff do non-destructive digging with our VAC trucks , vacuum digger and we also have utility locators that work in our earth spy division.
So for successful return to work I think the core issue is really that relationship with your employees, that they know that you are really there for them and they understand beforehand what sorts of processes will be taking place, that they know the suitable duties and that their supervisors going to be well involved and that staying at work is really health for them in that they can keep a relationship going into work, staying involved with your work mates and having that confidence that continues with the healthy aspects of been at work.
Some of the benefits that come for the business was successful return to work, obviously that the employees are still available to be utilised and to meet our clients' needs. There's the aspect financially too, there's a massive impact that it can have on premiums, but I think ultimately the real benefit to the business is that cultural fit, knowing that your staff know and you know that you can be proud of yourself as a business you do have a culture where your staff are looked after and that gets out there and people do approach us and do want to work for us.
Some of the successes that we have found in our return to work culture are really hiring people that have a wonderful approach to life and to work as well so attitude is one of our key drivers for what we look for in our staff and that creates a successful work place full stop.
Another aspect that we find really helpful is just really explaining to people right from the first day of what they can expect so if something goes wrong and they have an injury for example then we don't just stop work but we just adjust work so they know right from first day how we do return to work and what their expectations can be and how the process works and that they have a voice and that we are all about continual improvement and encouraging them to be engaged.
So I do feel really lucky in this work place and that we do have senior management the owners the directors they generally do want to have a safe workplace they do care about their staff and there is no issue as far as support to my role in return to work and I think that really is something that potentially other workplaces can learn from is that there are financial benefits and that culture does flow from top down throughout our business.
So our successful early intervention strategies really are being engaged with the employee right from when they may first have an injury. So we are part of the initial consultation with the Doctor so that we really build a team approach.
We have come a long way in our GP engagement and relationships so have gone out and identified specific practices that have occupational focus in their work and actually had them come out to our depots, demonstrate for them what VAC trucks do and what utility locators do and even engaged actual occupational physios so they could break down into different duties and weights so then we could specifically map out for GP's what different kinds of suitable duties are available.
I guess communication is one of the keys to the success that we have had and engaging senior management and supervisors of injured workers so that they know what is expected of them to get out there hands on with the Doctors and the employees and just keep the ball rolling as far as communication.
I keep our leadership team across what's happening as far as return to work goes by open communication and then when we have monthly management team meetings as well I present on where we are at and how things are tracking as well.
One of the fantastic things is that it doesn't cost a lot of money to be good at these processes, it just takes a great attitude.
For other return to work coordinators I'd really encourage them to take the processes to get senior leadership involved and in the buy in guess driving the financially benefits is obviously a key success.
Also the attitude of staff and the managers and the people that the supervisors that are going to be dong the return to work relational stuff with their employees that they have a positive approach to return to work, it's not about blame it's really about supporting staff and having that positive attitude towards return to work and that they are feeling supported and that their culture has a strongest driver and that achieve results.
We have taken the time to put things in place and it has really reaped rewards of people. They have had better health outcomes, better social outcomes with their families and it's a great achievement.
RUN TIME: 5 min 44 sec
Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 213 MB)
The Vac Group are a subsurface utility investigation, locating and mapping provider employing 150 staff, and work across several industries including manufacturing and construction. The Vac Group share their tips for improving return to work performance, facilitating relationships between all parties, and improving the return to work culture in their organisation.
Skilled - Go above and beyond no matter the challenge
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Go above and beyond no matter the Challenge
Skilled is the leading provider of casual labour hire and total workforce solutions management. We employ in the blue collar, white collar and industrial and commercial sectors. At Skilled our philosophy on rehab and return to work is centred around making sure that everyone plays their part. It's extremely important when someone is injured that they receive the best possible medical treatment as soon thereafter and we have a philosophy at Skilled that there's no job or task possibly being done that's more important than ensuring a person is well looked after when we get notified that they're injured.
Skilled's passionate about the safety of all of our employees. We pride ourselves with triaging to the top of the list of anything that's happening in our organisation when someone is injured or they're reported injured and Skilled will always attend with their employees to ensure they receive best practice medical attention, always engaging with our employees, always talking to our clients the moment an injury has occurred.
One of the first things that's happening when we are responding to an injured worker is also speaking to that client and talking about a graduated return to work on suitable duties at their workplace, at the environment where they were injured. Our employee is able to return to a safe work environment amongst their peers where they've been working prior to the injury and this usually leads to quicker and more effective rehabilitation outcomes.
I'd received the news that we had one of our injured employees from Bundaberg who was working remotely down just north of the Sunshine Coast at Gympie. He had sustained a very severe laceration to the base of his thumb and required orthopaedic surgery. And I made a decision as the OHS Manager here in Queensland that I was not going to leave our employee at Gympie in temporary accommodation that night. And we deployed our skilled resources at 8:30 - 9:00 o'clock at night and we had someone drive all the way from Brisbane to collect our employee.
He was then taken directly to our partner, was provided the best possible medical treatment, admitted that night and was then referred for surgery the following morning. And it's these things where Skilled will always go above and beyond no matter what the challenge is to ensure that any barrier that we find is in the way of any particular injury in any particular case we will find a solution to it always.
When we always respond on the day of injury, when we're always there with our injured worker on the day that they're injured and we have a rehabilitation plan in place by the end of that day we know our rehabilitation is effective and working well. And everyone in our business from our General Manager through to our operational staff, our operations supervisors and our injury management team all believe in that and ensure that that is the measure and the standard that our business will always operate.
Our first corporate value was safety and right there beside safety is injury management because it's one and the same. It's always encouraging to hear from an injured worker at the end of their rehabilitation journey and their successful return to work. It's even greater to hear from a family or from their partner or their wives or a husband to say "Thank you Skilled for looking after my loved one and making sure they got the best possible medical treatment". It makes it all worthwhile.
[End of Transcript]
Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 127 MB)
Skilled is a provider of casual labour hire and workforce solutions management, employing blue and white collar workers in the industrial and commercial sectors. Their philosophy for return to work is that there is no job that is more important than looking after their staff when they are injured. Skilled explain the benefits of the partnership they have developed with their workers and the treating doctor, and how returning their workers to work safely and quickly has had benefits for quicker and more effective rehabilitation outcomes.
CUB Yatala Brewery - Our culture supports what we do
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CUB Yatala Brewery
Return to work strategy
Carlton United Brewery's Yatala Brewery is located in South East Queensland employing about 300 employees predominantly male - aged into their mid to late 40s is the average age and average period of service is approximately 15 years.
At CUB Yatala Brewery we're looking for a way that we can make the injury event a positive experience for the business as well as for the employees who are injured. First of all we espouse respect. We talk about respect for the injured employee, respect within the work team so that that person is supported during their injury management process and respect for all the health professionals that are involved.
The strategic objectives of CUB Yatala Brewery is to first of all not have our employees injured. Unfortunately sometimes people do get injured at work. So what we try and do is facilitate the process so that that person is able to return to work as soon as possible and they're given valued work to do when they do come back to work.
As part of our wellness program what we're trying to do is encourage health-seeking behaviours in our employees. We'll be educating them about some of the health issues that may impact on them. Through this process we may be aware of some conditions that are coming up in the workplace that we previously were not aware of.
We had a number of forklift drivers presenting with shoulder problems. What we were able to do with the physiotherapist was get the physio to examine all of our forklift operators. From that we were able to put in an exercise program and a monitoring program. This is ongoing.
We've looked at what allied health professionals we've used in the past and we've also been able to advocate for some of our employees where their WorkCover seemed to be going nowhere. And sometimes the information that we get from that specialist has been able to have flow-on effects through to different work lines. And through that we were able to tailor some education, some stretches and some procedures for employees so that everyone benefits from it.
The way our organisation – CUB Yatala Brewery – is able to facilitate the emotional wellbeing of employees is through the use of our employee assistance program. We do have the ability for those employees to share their experiences with other employees who've had similar injuries. We do have to be careful of confidentiality but we do have a sense of culture here that people are able and willing to share their stories.
We know we've got a good program and we know our culture supports what we do. When you strip out those claims that don't impact on premium and you look at the premium impacting claims our average claims cost is $1,000 or less than $1,000 per claim. That's something that a lot of organisations would be very envious of.
We've done surveys with our employees and we have asked the question "If you're injured at work do you know what to do when it comes to WorkCover?" and the responses we've had from those employees is "Well we know we're going to be looked after," and to have that kind of a response from the employees shows that they trust us as managers, they trust us as a business to do the right thing by them and they know that at the end of the day they're the ones that are going to come out as winners as well.
[End of Transcript]
Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 117 MB)
CUB is a manufacturing business employing around 300 workers, predominantly male and under 50 years of age. CUB outline how they can make any return to work a positive experience for the injured worker and the business, and facilitate the process to allow the worker to return to work as soon as possible to valued work.
AACo - Involving stakeholders to ensure good outcomes
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Involving stakeholders to ensure good outcomes
Australian Agricultural Company
Joanna den Hertog:
AACO operates about 13 sites across Queensland and we operate a number of cattle stations and feedlots for the national and international markets. Over the last 12 months AACO has really worked to improve on what's already been an exceptional return to work culture. The underpinning feature of that has been the implementation of our rehabilitation packs which are designed to accompany injured workers to medical appointments to facilitate early and sustainable return to works.
That's been really good in terms of building relationship with doctors and being able to assure doctors that we do have alternative duties available and that we are very interested in supporting our injured workers.
Along with that we've also set up preferred medical provider arrangements with local doctors for all of our 13 sites. We've also held a number of education sessions for injured workers, managers and senior management as well and we've really tailored those sessions to the needs of those specific groups.
We really believe in a culture that supports the injured worker from the point of injury until they return to work on their normal duties. We really involve the injured worker, the treating professionals, the site managers, senior managers and of course the Rehab Return to Work Coordinator and WorkCover as well. So we really believe in a process of really involving stakeholders to ensure good outcomes.
At AACO we also offer access to a free Employee Assistance Program which is offered via email or phone or face to face in recognition of the geographical barriers that sometimes exist in relation to communication and receiving that support. So we ensure that all our injured workers are given details of the AACO EAP program so that they – they do feel supported during what can be a very difficult and challenging time.
The enhanced communication and the real involvement throughout all levels of the organisation in rehabilitation systems, the real work that they do at site level around managing injuries, the involvement of injured workers in their own rehabilitation and their commitment to participating in suitable duties and also the commitment of our site managers who overcome some very real challenges in terms of living in rural and remote areas to ensure that people do return to work and that they do access really good, excellent health care.
[End of Transcript]
Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 105 MB)
AACo is an agricultural business, operating thirteen cattle stations and feedlots across Queensland, servicing national and international markets. They describe the benefits of the relationships they've built with and information provided to medical professionals to assist in their understanding of return to work at AACo. The key to their success is enhanced communication and involvement of all stakeholders in return to work, and the involvement of the injured worker in designing their own rehabilitation.
- Last updated
- 09 November 2016
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