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ON Series: Beyond best practice - an award winning injury management system

Darwalla is an integrated poultry producer with multiple sites across Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Darwalla introduced a range of strategies to create their four phase injury management system to support injured workers' rehabilitation and return to work.

Watch the webcast to learn about Darwalla's award winning approach to developing an efficient return to work management system and how this model can be applied to businesses with multiple work sites.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 94MB)

ON Series - 'Beyond best practice' an award winning injury management system

- [Moderator] Welcome to today's On Series session, Beyond Best Practice, an award winning injury management system. The Office of Industrial Relations provides free education to stakeholders within the workers compensation scheme in Queensland to improve rehabilitation and return to work outcomes for businesses and workers. Our presenter today is Juan Corredor. Juan is the human resources and safety manager at Darwalla. Juan is representing Darwalla today to share their injury management system. See what tips you can implement into your injury management system to support your workers and business in getting workers back to work after an injury.

- [Juan] Thank you for listening. Let's talk about Darwalla and our injury management system. Darwalla is an integral poultry producer with sites across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Operations consist of a hatchery, breeder farms, broiler farms, live bird catching, feed mill, live bird transport, and feed transport and maintenance workshops.

We are a large culturally diverse organisation, which has presented unique challenges. These challenges have been met with novel and successful strategies to ensure compliance for a range of legislations in the high risk agricultural sector. We use a holistic approach to rehabilitation management. This covers them from their whole of employment life from pre-employment, induction, daily duties, employee development and employee support.

We're fully committed to our injury management system and support, develop and empower not only the injured workers, but ensure that all team members are involved in the process of rehabilitation through training and mentoring each other. We design and implement the customised long term sustainable fully integrated rehabilitation management system to meet the unique nature of our operations. The system is Beyond Best Practice with the cornerstones of our system being training, worker support, collaborative networking and communication. The system has embedded the principles of risk management into all areas of the operation to ensure compliance with several legal requirements.

We promote return to work through awareness of the Darwalla rehabilitation and safety system starting at the commencement of employment using role based inductions. All workers undertake a two part induction programme, part A and part B. The part A, it is a day one induction of an employee and are customised for each department, as there are different risks associated with different roles.

The part A induction covers general information on the role, includes health and safety, responsibilities, reporting, and the principles of rehabilitation.

The part B induction, it is a monthly induction. It includes the CEO, David Greaves, who every new employee meets at the beginning of the induction. Information is more comprehensive and expands on the principles and practices of Darwalla's rehabilitation system. It also explains the importance of training, reporting, worker support and collaborative networking to sustain the rehabilitation system. We ensure that all workers within the organisation are aware of the rehabilitation system, policies, procedures and the reporting process by undertaking targeted training. The rehabilitation of reporting training is undertaken at the commencement of employment and a refresher training is undertaken annually.

Returning an injured worker back to meaningful work needs more just than paperwork and procedures. It relies on positive attitudes, supportive workplace relationships and friendships, and the active collaboration between employers, workers, doctors, and others. Ultimately, everyone should strive for a partnership approach to managing injuries where there is trust, support, and an openness to regularly communicate and share information with one another. Some of the components of the worker support phase are: supportive workplace culture, rehabilitation coordinator, early intervention, rehabilitation pack, psychological or mental health support, support from coworkers, redeployment. A supportive workplace culture is key to managing workplaces, more enjoyable and somewhere that injured workers are motivated to get back to. Injury management is highly interpersonal and requires active collaboration and cooperation between all involved. The rehabilitation team is composed of the injured worker, departmental manager, the rehabilitation coordinator, doctor, WorkCover case manager, an allied health professional, for example, an OT, and the coworkers.

Effective injury management relies on the cooperation of all involved. When everyone understands the responsibilities, active and full participation in the injury management process is much easier to achieve. There are a range of suitable duties across the company. The tasks assigned to the injured workers are dependent on their functional capacity as designated by the doctor or allied health professional. The rehab team uses the functional capacity supplied by the doctor and cross references with the final demands, assessment of viable tasks and roles across the company. Here we developed several channels of communication. We have Daily Toolbox Meetings, ConnX Portal, Darwalla Way, Lessons Learnt, and Connecting Darwalla. The Daily Toolbox Meetings is information relating to safety and anyone under a rehabilitation plan is communicating to all team members and the suitable duties planned is displayed under the departmental visual performance management board. The ConnX Portal provides a central communication hub where workers across the organisation can access their personal information and can receive communications from the company. The Darwalla way, once an improvement project is conducted and concluded, Darwalla designs and distributes The Darwalla Way flyer. These flyers contain information relating to the improvement and the benefits the improvement will bring to the people and to the organisation. The Lessons Learnt, basically following the investigation of the cause of an incident or an accident at Darwalla, we design and distribute a Lesson Learnt flyer. This flyer contains non-identified information relating to the incident, the cause, and the methods of preventing the recurrence of the incident. And last, Connecting Darwalla. It is our Darwalla newsletter basically. All of them, The Darwalla Way, Connecting Darwalla, and Lessons Learnt are distributed across the organisation and displayed on each department's communications section of the visual performance management boards. Some of the main initiatives implemented in order to improve outcomes to injured workers are role based functional demands assessments, role based pre-employment assessments, rehabilitation packs, preferred medical/health professionals, and host employment opportunities to assist non-Darwalla employees among other initiatives.

Let's talk about the role based functional demands assessments and pre-employment assessments. One of the major initiatives which forms the core of the Darwalla rehabilitation programme was the design and utilisation of tasks, specific functional demands, and pre-employment assessments. All roles and tasks within the organisation were assessed and using this information, role specific pre-employment assessment were designed to ensure that the staff undertaking various tasks have the physical capacity to undertake the role. The functional demands report were also used in the formulation of the job safety analysis, which were developed for every section within the business. Information relating to the physical capacities are also used in the rehabilitation process to design customised suitable duties plans.

Now, the other initiatives are the rehabilitation packs and preferred medical health professionals. Darwalla's rehabilitation programme includes a rehabilitation pack, which contains all relevant information and documentation, which a worker requires immediately post injury. This kit includes the tools and information an injured worker needs in order to demystify the process and make it less daunting from the beginning. Due to the specialisation of the roles performed, Darwalla provides preferred treating doctors with the functional demands to assist them with early return to work plans. We say preferred training doctors, however, workers are able to visit their own doctor. We recommend they take the rehabilitation pack to their doctor to support their management and their return to work goals. Host employment opportunities at Darwalla. Since we joined the WorkCover Host Employer Programme, Darwalla have host several workers who have undertaken various roles within the organisation. Most of the workers successfully complete the long term suitable duties programme with Darwalla and have found alternative employment. Darwalla works closely with WorkCover and allied professionals in order to ensure the host employee cases are managed in a timely and efficient manner. To be invited to join the WorkCover Host Employer Programme validates our rehabilitation system is beyond best practice.

Now let's talk about the benefits. The main benefits of our injury management system are better engagement, better performance, external recognition and a vastly improved safety. Better engagement, we have increased level of report in an injury management across the company. We have seen a much more positive attitude towards health and safety and a greater ownership on safety matters and an open communication and feedback. On the performance side, in the past years we have experienced the best safety results in the history of the company. We have reduced our WorkCover insurance premiums and our rates are much lower compared to the industry. External recognition: we're recognised as leaders in the industry. We have had the opportunity to share our lessons learnt at various networking events and also Darwalla has been as a case study in a couple of occasions for the agricultural sector.

And lastly, but I believe the most important part is we have improved our safety. We have a 37% reduction in number of last term injuries in the past 3 years, 36% reduction in medically treated injuries in the past three years and, in general, Darwalla has decreased the exposure to liability by increasing supervisors and managers' awareness of healthy and safety matters.

- Thanks Juan and Darwalla for sharing the award winning Beyond Best Practice injury management system. We encourage viewers to send any questions or feedback about this session to Thank you for listening.

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