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Integrated Family and Youth Service

Targeting the demands of the job

Integrated Family and Youth Service Ltd (IFYS) is a not-for-profit organisation delivering specialist support and intervention programs for children, young people and families across Queensland.

They work closely with businesses, governments and charities to deliver accommodation, child protection, counselling and disability support services.

What was the problem?

IFYS was invited to participate in the Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program in 2012, following a high number of workers' compensation claims (in particular, psychological injury claims), which impacted the company's insurance premiums.

Working with an IPaM advisor, a representative group of IFYS workers reviewed the company's work health and safety (WHS) systems through a focus group session to identify areas for improvement including:

  • induction and ongoing WHS training and support for workers
  • support for workers in dealing with the emotional demands of the job
  • consultation with workers on WHS matters
  • incident reporting procedures to capture WHS information more effectively.

What was the solution?

IFYS achieved significant financial and cultural benefits by making simple improvements to its WHS reporting techniques, safety procedures, training and injured worker support. The company focused on the safety and wellbeing of their workers—not just on reducing claim and premium costs.

IFYS addressed the psychological injury risk that workers are exposed to using the People at Work program. This program includes a free psychosocial risk assessment tool to help organisations identify, manage and evaluate injury prevention and management interventions.

Workers completed a survey to measure how different workplace characteristics influence worker health and wellbeing, focusing particularly on risks to psychological health.

The process validated concerns raised by staff by identifying risk factors for psychological injury including high cognitive and emotional demands, high levels of role conflict, and low levels of change consultation.

As a result, psychological injury risk management solutions were implemented including:

  • annual therapeutic crisis intervention training for all workers to skill them in preventing and de-escalating potential crisis situations, effectively managing acute crises, reducing the impact of crises on service users and workers, and learning constructive ways to manage stress
  • transforming care training for workers to help them understand and improve the nature of patient care
  • a peer support mentoring program
  • proactive worker consultation leading to workplace changes including a new roster system to allow staff more flexibility and support worker wellbeing
  • staff focus groups to further improve rostering and work/life balance strategies.

IFYS has also implemented a leadership in safety training package, which is now mandatory for all staff. The training covers:

  • communication, consultation and representation
  • how to manage WHS
  • incident management
  • risk management process for work health and safety issues
  • sexual harassment and bullying
  • manual handling.

What were the benefits?

The changes have been well received by staff and have provided improved consistency for clients, with benefits including:

  • a reduction in psychological and musculoskeletal injuries
  • improved workplace culture through strong emphasis on worker consultation and leadership
  • significant cost benefits with a reduction of nearly 50 per cent in workers' compensation insurance premiums
  • major cost reductions in workers' compensation claims including a much faster return to work process for injured workers
  • increases in incident reporting across the company.

More information

For injury prevention and management information and resources: