When Iceworld Attendant, Thomas, sustained a knee injury at work while skating, it was a setback for both him and his employer. There were shifts to fill and uncertainty around how long he would be off work.
Iceworld CEO Keith shares how he turned things around for both Thomas and the business.
“Thomas was undertaking a normal everyday task, moving a cone on the ice, when he twisted his knee the wrong way. It was just one of those things.”
Thomas’s role was a busy one and he was a core part of the Iceworld team. On any given day he could be undertaking repairs to the venue or resurfacing the ice. Thomas also led activities for participants during skating sessions.
“I was at our other site when the injury occurred and I found out an incident report had been lodged."
"He was in a bit of pain and was diagnosed with medial ligament strain.”
Keith found that open communication and flexibility were key to Thomas's successful return.
“We stayed in touch with Thomas. We were really guided by him and what he felt he could do as he recovered, as well as the clear instructions he got from his specialist. Because the injury was initially painful and recovery took about two months, I knew we’d have to adapt aspects of Thomas’s usual role so he could undertake more suitable duties.”
So, what exactly did Thomas do, while recovering at work with an injury?
“Instead of demonstrating activities on the ice, we had him instruct from the sidelines, while another team member demonstrated the moves. We also gave Thomas shifts in the café, front reception area and at the skate rental desk.”
When asked what motivated Keith to be so proactive in getting his worker back on track, he said it was important to keep good workers like Thomas in the business.
“We recognise that our casual workers need income and so we do everything we can to keep them in a job.”
“Recruiting the right people takes time."
And Keith’s advice for other employers who have a worker experience an injury at work?
“Stay in regular contact with your employee. Give your worker the time they need, but also have the discussion around what they feel capable of early on.”
“Contact your WorkCover case manager if you have questions. They’re keen to help.”
“And take the time to look around at your workplace. You’d be surprised at what you can find for your worker to do while they’re recovering. They’ll probably be grateful you did.”