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Award nominated rehab consultant shares his top tips


4 October 2022

When a worker is injured, it can be an overwhelming time for employers. There’s pressure to limit the impact on the business while also supporting their worker’s recovery.

Employers told us it would be helpful to hear how others have overcome challenges when a worker is injured. When it comes to successful return to work, the rehabilitation consultants who partner with employers on workplace injuries everyday have some sound advice.

WorkCover Queensland recently spoke to Pete Irving, Relationship Manager at Prudence Rehab. Pete is a finalist in the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Awards, which will be announced in November 2022.

I think I’ve probably done more than a thousand worksite visits,” Pete told us.

Here Pete shares his experience and top tips for businesses, alongside Adam Shackleford, the National Health Safety and Environment Manager for Genie, on site at the construction manufacturing supplier’s premises in Darra, Queensland.

Adam Shackleford: I’m the National HSC Manager for Genie Australia. So based here in Dara Queensland, and uh, I look after all the Genie Australia sites around the country.

Yeah, so obviously concern and for the injured team member is always at the forefront.

Some of the injuries we have, you know, they can be quite complex. And that’s where, you know, if you don't hold that sort of knowledge and understanding and perhaps have those skills internally you need to look to outsource that. Particularly I guess with WorkCover – you know they provide that hub, and that conduit to you know, such a subject matter expert.

Peter Irving: Well, I think I've probably done more than a thousand worksite visits. I'm very familiar with the legislation.

The sooner you can reconnect an injured worker back to the workplace socially, emotionally, psychologically or physically, the chances of a successful outcome increase exponentially.

So, for example, I've had injured workers that have a lot of intel in physical jobs, unable to do the physical job, But they were wonderful at coaching a new person that had just started and showing them the ropes, and teaching them what to do. Or overseeing quality or working on policy or doing some of the training that they’d neglected to do over time.

There's the financial benefits that we know; that there's a direct link between the premium and the risk of common law, with the employers that think outside the box and retain contact and enable meaningful duties for their injured workers.

Adam Shackleford: The transition back to you know, full capacity seems to be um, first of all a lot more effective and a lot more expedient.

The guiding through the process is important particularly if you haven't sort been, er, involved and uh, had to manage a serious or significant injury.

Peter Irving: And that worker that feels completely supported will be the best advocate and the best word of mouth for the entire workforce, going over and Beyond with morale and culture, which all the evidence shows is the number one predictor for organizational success.

Pete’s ethos is all about being proactive. He encourages employers to make contact with their worker soon after a workplace injury and stay in touch.

‘The sooner you can reconnect an injured worker back to the workplace socially, emotionally, psychologically, or physically, the chances of a successful outcome increase exponentially.”

His take home message?

“That worker who feels completely supported will be the best advocate for the entire workforce with regards to morale and culture, which evidence shows is the number one predictor for organisational success.”