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Suitable duties help burns victim return to work

Unfortunately agriculture is known to be one of Queensland's most dangerous industries. It's also an industry where injured workers take longer to recover and return to work compared with other industries. This is partly because of the nature of the injuries sustained, and partly because of the lack of suitable alternative duties that employers can offer workers to allow them to recover at work.

So this case study is an inspiration to other employers and workers in the agriculture industry. Here we have a supportive employer, a suitable duties program, and a strong desire from a seriously injured worker to return to work.

The injured worker sustained burns to 25% of his body when back burning on the property. The burns to his face, arms and back were caused when petrol was thrown on the fire to accelerate it, but the fire flared up.

The worker was totally incapacitated from 19 July to 25 August this year.

However, after extensive physio and reviews at the Princess Alexandra Burns Unit, he returned back to the property on 26 August and was cleared for light duties and partial hours.

The worker lives on the property, and the employer was very supportive in finding appropriate duties for the injured worker.

WorkCover Queensland customer advisor Karryn Hamilton said the injured workers' restrictions include that he cannot be near heat.

She said the employer has identified light duties which can be conducted at night, or in the shade of the sheds during the day. The employer has bought the worker protective gear to cover from head to toe as additional protection. Karryn added the worker can also drive the onsite vehicles to ferry people around the property.

“This is a great example of how working together with the medical team, the employer, and the injured worker, and identifying suitable duties can help a worker with significant injuries get back to work safely,” she said.

“By working together and continuing to be proactive with injury prevention and management, we hope that we can get our injured workers back to work sooner, as there are significant health benefits to returning to work.”

You can find more information on Rehabilitation and Return to Work on our website, or for more information, please call us on 1300 362 128.