FK Gardner & Sons Group (FKG) are leading the way in managing the health and safety of their people. Now they are also helping other businesses rehabilitate injured workers through WorkCover Queensland's Recover at Work host employment program.
FKG provides commercial construction, civil, development, plant hire and plumbing services to a wide range of clients throughout eastern Australia. The company has achieved an impressive 6,241,080 Lost Time Injury (LTI) free hours, achieved through a combination of robust safety systems, continuous safety culture enhancements, fit-for-purpose subcontractor education and training programs.
FKG places a healthy focus on ensuring the wellbeing and return to work for all injured workers. The adoption of immediate return to work has been embraced across the entire FKG Group and is reflected in the downward trend of their premium rate.
They also acutely understand the benefits of recovering at work. In 2013/14, FKG's stay at work rate (workers who do not have time off following injury) was 100 per cent, far eclipsing the industry rate of 60.94 per cent. Their final return to work success rate was also 100 per cent compared with an industry rate of 91.72 per cent.
FKG Senior Safety Technical Advisor, Chris Cooper, who manages rehabilitation and return to work for the FKG Group said the organisation's continued participation in the Recover at Work program is a natural fit with their own 'ALL WAYS SAFE' philosophy.
"The FKG Group has actively ensured the return to work of our employees since 2007, when the default position of many construction sector employers was that there were no 'suitable duties' available," Chris said.
"As a Group we actively encourage subcontractors that we engage for our projects to fully participate with the rehabilitation of injured workers by providing education and assistance to help their injured employees return to work," he said.
"The benefits for subcontractors are clear. They ensure their workers return to work immediately or the next day following an incident with minimal impacts on productivity."
For WorkCover Customer Services Manager – Construction, Tammy Kangas, getting injured workers back on the job quickly is an important step in recovering from a work-related injury.
"As a high risk industry, it is important that construction employers are continuously looking after their workers' health and safety," Tammy said.
"Recovering at work or making a quick return to work means a worker can return to a normal life. This often helps reduce the financial and emotional impact on them and their family and fosters a productive work environment.
"WorkCover's Recover at Work program places injured workers in short term host employment with employers who have an established track record of successful return to work outcomes with their own workers," she said.
"So we were very pleased when FKG agreed to become a host employer."
Recover at Work programs usually run for three to six weeks. WorkCover pays the worker's wages when they participate in a suitable duties program and the host employer benefits from the services of an additional skilled worker.
Recover at Work is one of several employer targeted programs which underpin WorkCover Queensland's position as one of the nation's fastest return work rates with 96 per cent of injured workers returning to work within 12 months.
"Earlier this year we hosted an employee at one of our civil projects," Chris said.
"The suitable duties selected for the hosted employee not only helped with their recovery, but showed a need for that role within our Group."
By hosting injured workers from within their own industry, FKG are also making a valuable contribution towards lowering the overall construction industry premium rate and reducing claims costs.
"I would absolutely recommend the Recover at Work program or any similar incentives to other employers. We are proud of how our workplace rehabilitation initiatives are having a positive impact on worker wellbeing and recovery times," he said.
If you are an employer who prides themselves on leading the way in your industry, find out more about how the Recover at Work host employment program can work for you.