The great relationship between an injured worker and his employer resulted in a successful return to work, as this case study shows.
When 57 year old Malcolm Locker, a concrete truck driver at Hymix, a subsidiary of Hanson Construction Pty Ltd, injured himself at work, not once, but twice, he was worried after his second injury that he wouldn't have a job to return to.
In his role, Malcolm drives a truck and manipulates the chutes for the concrete to be unloaded. He is also responsible for cleaning the inside of the truck concrete barrel, which sometimes involves the use of a jackhammer. Malcolm's first incident left him diagnosed with tendonitis and a torn rotator cuff.
For this injury, he underwent physiotherapy and steroid injections, as well as surgery, after which he returned to work on suitable duties, and then achieved a full recovery in seven months.
Malcolm, who has worked at Hymix for 19 years, managed to work for three months event free but unfortunately he sustained a fracture to one of his back vertebrae after falling from his front loader. The accident occurred when his foot slipped off the top step, and he was prescribed full bed rest for several months to recover.
“I wasn't able to do a lot of movement initially, which made me frustrated,” Malcolm said.
“I began to experience negative thoughts on my recovery and whether or not my job was going to be available to me, and whether I would ever be able to return to driving the truck,” he recalled.
Malcolm's WorkCover Customer Advisor Maggie Mount-Earle explained an integral part of getting him through this period was in depth telephone conversations, reaffirming that his job was safe, discussing his treatment, discussing other things the family dog, his hobbies etc.
“Through this period we built a trusting relationship that allowed Malcolm to relax, his anxiety reduced, we then discussed his rehabilitation,” Maggie said.
“Maggie had a huge input for me getting back to work,” Malcolm said.
“It was her intervention that made this a successful outcome and it allowed me to find out how the company felt about me and that I was a valued member of staff.”
Prior to returning to work on alternative duties, Malcolm completed a pain management program, which helps assist with techniques to manage pain and improve function. This multi-disciplinary program involved a doctor, a physiotherapist and a psychologist.
During his period off work, Malcolm's Return to Work Coordinator Paulette Butler and Manager Glen McConnell were fantastic. Ongoing communication with Malcolm was positive, with them both visiting him at home, and taking him out to morning tea. They reiterated that he was a valued employee and that his position was definitely safe.
Maggie adds that throughout both claims Malcolm remained focused on returning to work, despite being fearful that Hymix would not want him back.
“The relationship between Malcolm and Hymix has been extremely good, and communication throughout these incidents has been phenomenal. Had they not had a great relationship this claim could have had a very different outcome,” Maggie said.
“It proves that where there is a will there is a way.”
For more information on injury management and return to work, please contact us on 1300 362 128.