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The factors that influence return to work

Best Practice

Part of co-ordinating return to work is taking time to understand the factors which influence an injured worker’s individual circumstances. Influences such as their family, friends, financial considerations, workplace issues and preconceived medical ideas about their injury, play a part in how an injured worker should be supported, rather than treated as another statistic.

Staying up to date with current research and findings, as well as emerging issues and trends on the health benefits of rehabilitation and return to work, will help you understand the possible influences on your injured worker.

Why is this important

According to the New South Wales Government State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) there are four key domains that work together to influence return to work:

  • personal
  • workplace
  • insurance and compensation
  • health care.

By getting to know the factors that impact an injured worker’s individual circumstances, you can understand the barriers affecting returning to work or staying at work. Identifying and discussing the issues can assist with working collaboratively on the return-to-work journey.

SIRA reports evidence workers’ perception of their experience with their employer during the return to work process as one of the most significant influences on return to work outcomes. A positive perception of their experience in the workplace can result in positive return to work out comes.

Your toolkit

To fully understand the concepts and ideas researched by SIRA read Reversing the trend - improving return to work outcomes in NSW.

Have a look at Factors influencing return to work outcomes for the full explanation of the four key domains.

Dr Mary Wyatt’s article, a scheme leaders' approach to turning around RTW, looks at higher level interventions from an insurer perspective however some of these can be translated by you into your workplace.