Category two – Employer achievement award – small/medium
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland (RSPCA Queensland) is an animal welfare charity, dedicated to improving the lives of animals throughout Queensland. The organisation has several sites across the state consisting of both paid staff and volunteers.
RSPCA Qld implemented systems to provide a supportive stay at work culture and ensure that injured workers are able to return to their pre-injury role.
They designed an injury management module so all managers have the knowledge to provide their workers with the best injury management possible. The module highlights the importance of building a safety culture, what to do when a worker injures themselves and how to provide the best possible support.
Their supportive return to work environment ensures that every worker, regardless of the injury, has a meaningful suitable duties plan available to them.
The RSPCA Qld strives towards a zero harm workplace and believes that a robust safety system coupled with a stay at work culture will ensure that a zero harm workplace will become a reality.
Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 185MB)
RUN TIME: 4 min 53 sec
My name is Jennifer Bell, I work for the RSPCA Queensland. The RSPCA Queensland is one of the largest animal welfare organisations in the southern hemisphere. We employee approximately 300 staff, from animal welfare to retail to administration.
The RSPCA has aligned its strategic objectives with a better return to work outcome by working closely with the senior leadership team, working closely with the executive leadership team to ensure that rehabilitation is built into both our health and safety policy and procedure, as well as our other safety management system procedures, this way its ingrained in everything that we do and it's a part of the daily operations of the society.
The key elements of our strategy in getting our injured workers back to work as soon as possible are consultation being available to the injured worker as and when they needed. Insuring that we are informed of the injury as soon as it happens so we can begin that support of process as quickly as possible.
Consultation with our workers is important that all steps of the rehabilitation process because without their knowledge and willingness to be a part of the program that we have put in place with them, we found that the program won't be successful, the more buy in that they have the more likely they are to participate and the more willing they are to participate in returning to work.
The RSPCA works very closely with the managers, specifically the line managers of injured workers to insure that the worker receives support from a management level. Line managers we found are particularly important because their the people that work closest with our injured workers so by providing them with the support that they needed to in turn support their people we created a very supportive rehabilitation culture.
We also have a really good employee assistance program. We found that with a lot of workers who have more difficulty injuries to overcome they require some return to work counselling or adjustment to injury counselling so we do recommend that they work through that.
Our OT comes out on site and works with our workers on their suitable genius plans. She devises different ways for them to complete tasks that are perhaps giving them trouble and she also puts in place systems that will help them not only now but also to prevent injury in the future.
We worked closely with our executive and senior leadership team to insure that we were driving the type of safety culture that would allow rehabilitation at work, we're now moving towards that culture which is preventative. Preventing our injuries but also insuring that when injuries do happen we do have a plan in place so that we can insure that we will know what's happening, we all know how to support our workers so that we can get them back to work as quickly as possible.
The financial benefits of us having our injured people return to work as quickly as possible, are shown in our WorkCover premiums, which are dropping and we've also had a significant reduction in the number of lost time injuries that we have had.
The advice that we would have for other employees looking to achieve return to work success or improvements is have a plan, although injury management is inherently reactive it doesn't mean that you can't know what you are going to do when you do react to injuries happening, so work with your teams, work with leadership teams, make sure that when injuries do happen you have the processes in place to support your people.
Through consultation you will discover what your people need and insuring that you have that early reporting culture will insure that you can get onto your injuries as soon as they happen. And it doesn't always mean that you have to have a lot of money to spend a lot of the times it's just about having that conversation with your people.
RSPCA Queensland works really closely with all of our stakeholders so we work closely with our WorkCover case managers keeping them up to date. We also work closely with our managers so balancing their expectations, and of course we balance the expectations of the worker so at the end of the day were trying to find the middle ground between these three parties to insure we can have a successful return to work.
Working with your people will insure that you can explain to them not only what they can expect from yourself as the employer but also what you will expect from them so that you can have a successful return to work program.