Safety capability requires clear processes and regular meaningful communication when managing injuries and illnesses.
It can be a challenging time for a worker and employer following a work-related injury or illness. To minimise uncertainty, ensure you have a clear process for lodging claims and information available to everyone assisting with a worker’s recovery and return to work.
WorkCover Queensland’s Injury information pack (DOCX, 0.61 MB) helps employers and workers know what to expect in the event of a work-related injury or illness. The pack includes:
- an employer information sheet
- a worker information sheet to be given to your worker to keep
- suitable duties register
- suitable duties program template
- a letter to medical practitioner
- an incident investigation form
- a sample Work capacity certificate.
'If you're injured at work' (PDF, 1.24 MB) posters are available to share with your workforce.
You can place them on notice boards to inform staff about what to do next, and what to expect from a recovery and return to work process.
To assist an injured worker recover from injury and return to work, employers should follow the seven principles set out in the Guidelines for standard for rehabilitation (PDF, 0.58 MB). By adopting these principles employers and workers can work together to achieve successful rehabilitation outcomes and reduce the time a worker is absent from the workplace.
Create opportunities for workers to learn about recovery and return to work processes. Include this information for new workers during induction and orientation sessions.
Open communication, early intervention, treatment, and support that recognises an injured worker’s individual needs will help support workers recover at work or return safely to work early. By adopting this approach, workers will have improved return to work outcomes, experience better quality of life and reduce their claim duration.
Under section 228 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, you have an obligation to assist or provide a worker who has sustained a work-related injury with rehabilitation for the period the worker is entitled to workers’ compensation.
Providing suitable duties, reasonable workplace modifications, and communicating in a supportive way can aid an injured worker’s recovery and return to work. A Suitable duties plan (DOC, 0.06 MB) can help you organise for what tasks an injured worker will perform as part of their recovery and return to work, including timeframes and modifications as work fitness improves. It also lets workers know what to expect throughout the recovery and return to work process.
Getting life back to normal is important after experiencing a work-related injury or illness. By educating staff on how to start a recovery and return to work process and the steps involved, this will help support injured workers recover and return to work sooner.
By communicating early with an injured worker and making information readily available, this will help them feel more confident in taking an active role in planning their recovery and return to work. Encourage workers to be open about how their recovery is going and what their return-to-work goals are. Create opportunities to share what support you can offer and any other additional support that may be available to assist them to return to work.
In some cases, it may not be possible for safety or practical reasons, for a worker to return to their normal work or other suitable duties at the workplace. WorkCover can temporarily place your worker with a ’host employer' through the Recover at Work program. This enables the worker to return to work sooner and maintain a daily routine while they recover. This will support good mental health and wellbeing.
- Include information about safety reporting in new worker inductions, and refresher training for existing employees.
- Provide reminders to report injuries and illnesses in a timely manner, where to get support to submit a claim and start their recovery and return to work.
- Make the injured worker front and centre of their recovery and return to work with regular and open communication.
- Ensure early intervention and treatment that recognises an individual’s needs.
- Educate all levels of your organisation on the benefits of a return-to-work culture and what successful rehabilitation looks like.
- Develop a list of suitable duties and share these with the injured worker and case manager as part of a supportive return to work discussion.
View the Resources page for information and tips on how to improve your systems and processes to build your safety capability including prioritising organisational safety, importance of consultation, representation and participation, and understanding your legal obligations.
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