Category three – Winner – Employer achievement award – large
The Endeavour Foundation provides specialised employment and training for more than 2,000 people with a disability.
They have unique challenges in rehabilitation and return to work as many of the employees have an intellectual disability. The rehabilitation team is recruited specifically to address the additional challenges that may be faced when a person with a disability is injured at work.
The company ensures that wherever possible, suitable duties are arranged internally with regard for the injured worker's medical restrictions.
To excel in rehabilitation and return to work, the organisation ensures that there is training at induction, regular training for managers, communication with staff through safety bulletins, and onsite training through staff meetings and injury review.
The organisation has come up with key strategic objectives to assist with their rehabilitation and return to work outcomes including:
- pre-employment medical questionnaires (early intervention to ensure correct job fit)
- preferred medical provider approach across the business (providing improved relationship building and understanding if and when required for return to work activities)
- People at Work Project (focussing on proactive measures to stem any issues)
- early reporting, early intervention and RRTW management training across all sites.
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RUN TIME: 5 min 17 sec
My name is Yvonne Payne, I'm from the Endeavour foundation, we currently employee around about 4500 staff, 2500 of those people are workers with a disability.
So a couple of years ago our workplace health and safety and injury management team got together and we developed a 2013, 2014 strategic plan and we looked at all the different stakeholders in the organisation and how we could provide a better service from a health and safety and injury management perspective to those parts of the business.
We presented that to our CEO, he 100 per cent supported our strategic plan and as a result of that the flow on was that managers and supervisors felt they could easily be on board as well. That then gave us a platform to go out and train the business and everyone felt part of a well thought out strategic plan.
Our key elements are the training that the managers and supervisors have all received over the last couple of years. We have also done an extensive review on our rehab documents and tried to simplify that process for the managers and for the workers.
Our rehab and return to work culture within the organisation has been really driven by the training that we have provided to our managers and supervisors. That's had a trickle on effect amongst all of our workers.
We also like to have a really good relationship with WorkCover Queensland and our case managers, that way they're all part of this process as well and everybody's involved.
One of the really good initiatives that flowed on from our strategic plan was a preferred medical provider. We have trialled that in several sites and it's had an amazing, positive effect on our rehab and return to work and as a result of that we've reduced in those four sites alone we have reduced claims cost by about around $100,000 a year, so it's had really good benefits. What our plan is moving forward for the 15/16 strategic plan is that preferred medical provider process will be rolled our across the business.
Our upper level management supports early return to work because they understand the very real human and financial benefits of early return to work.
Endeavour foundation's rehab coordinators have such a great knowledge of the organisation that as long as that communication is there and the rehab coordinator is aware of an injured worker, they can contact the person and explain to them all the varied opportunities that we have in regards to return to work.
So we are getting them back to work earlier because of the communications strategy that we've put in place, our rehab return to work coordinators work very closely with injured workers, doctors and treating medical providers and because our managers and supervisors are communicating with the rehab coordinators in turn they can get that return to work process rolling and it's all about early intervention and really good smart communication.
We've found that our supported workers who rely so heavily on the social interaction of work and support networks they get at work that the culture has really changed whereby our workers are very keen to return to work and very keen to participate in rehabilitation strategies and suitable duties.
The financial benefits have being astounding. The fact that we've halved our claims costs that's had a huge amount of positive effect on our WorkCover premium.
As far as our business goes the more people that we have hands on deck the better it is and we really understand the importance of people returning to work and what a lengthy time off work can do to somebody mentally and physically, so the physical benefits obviously of early return to work, the statistics will show that the earlier somebody's back at work the easier they are going to recover.
I would like to say to all other employers, take a step back and have a look at what they're currently doing and what they can do better, then it's a matter of developing that plan and putting it out to the business.
To develop the plan you really need stakeholder involvement, you need feedback from all the different parts of your organisation, look at how you can streamline it, look at the dollars that can be saved when you do streamline that and then once you have a really good strategic plan in place to follow that plan.
I can't even explain how proud I am of what we have done for our organisation as a workplace health and safety injury management team, we have managed to save valuable money that can then be rolled out into our business, that money that's saved goes straight back to our people we support and they are the final beneficiaries of that any savings that are made.