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Workers' compensation and return to work

​If you have a business in Queensland and employ workers, you must have a current workers' compensation insurance policy, an injury reporting system and a rehabilitation and return to work program.

An accident insurance policy covers employers for the cost of work-related injuries. It also provides injured workers with compensation, medical costs and other benefits to support them in their recovery and return to work.

What must you do?

Unless you are a licensed self-insurer, you must take out an accident insurance policy with WorkCover Queensland to insure your workers. You must insure your workers within five days of them commencing employment.

This is required by the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Your insurance policy needs to reflect the type of business you run and the total wages you pay, or estimate you will pay, your workers.

If your business grows or changes over time, you must update your policy.

There are penalties for not having a policy or the incorrect cover.

Keep a record of all injuries and illnesses – even minor ones that don't need a workers' compensation claim. A good safety reporting process within your business will ensure you know about all injuries at your workplace and have all the details you need to provide to your insurer if a claim is lodged.

Your register of injuries should include:

  • injured worker/s name
  • worker's age
  • worker's occupation at the time of the incident
  • date and time of the incident
  • task being performed
  • nature of injury or illness
  • cause of the injury or illness
  • any steps you’ve taken to try and prevent further incidents or illnesses
  • sign off by the injured worker (if possible) and their supervisor that the details above are accurate.

You are also responsible for reporting all work related injuries where an employee may be able to access workers’ compensation.

Who do workers report an injury to?

Injuries and illnesses should be reported to a:

  • supervisor
  • manager
  • health and safety representative or health and safety committee
  • return to work coordinator.

Injured workers should also lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland if they are likely to incur expenses as a result of their injury.

What must you do?

Train your workers to use your injury reporting system and how to lodge a workers’ compensation claim.

When a workplace injury or illness happens, you must:

  • provide first aid straight away
  • make sure the injured person gets the right care, including emergency transportation if necessary
  • tell your worker to let their health care provider know they were injured at work
  • record the details of the injury or illness in your register of injuries
  • let WorkCover Qld know about the injury or illness within eight business days
  • call Workplace Health and Safety Qld straight away on 1300 362 128 if there is a dangerous incident, or if the injury or illness is serious or results in death

Learn more about incidents and notifications.

You are responsible for helping a worker return to work if they have experienced an injury. This process should start as soon as you become aware that they have been injured.

You should contact your worker and ask about their injury as soon as possible. The worker is more likely to return to work and have a successful recovery if you maintain contact with them during their recovery.

The insurer will develop a rehabilitation and return to work plan for the worker. You are responsible for identifying suitable duties available in the workplace for the worker. It is important to remember that workers do not have to be fully recovered from their injury to perform suitable duties.

Each worker will have individual recovery needs. Workers may experience the same injury, but the impact of the injury can be very different. Have regular conversations with the worker to make sure you know how the injury has affected them and what you can offer to support their recovery.

Did you know: Injured workers who are offered and participate in suitable duties are likely to recover more quickly than those who don’t.

What must you do?

If your business meets the criteria, you must have rehabilitation policy and procedures and appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator.

You must document your rehabilitation policy and procedures within six months of setting up your workplace and starting to employ workers. You also need to review your rehabilitation policy and procedures every three years and keep them up to date.

They should detail how you manage rehabilitation within your workplace, and refer to the standard outlined in the Guidelines for Standard for Rehabilitation 2nd Edition(PDF, 0.58 MB). These guidelines have been developed to help you understand your important role in helping a worker return to their normal job.

If you have a worker who's experienced a work-related injury or illness, you can help them return to work by:

  • contacting the worker as soon as possible
  • advising the worker that they can return to work even if they haven’t recovered 100%
  • modifying the worker’s hours and tasks to suit their capacity
  • keeping the worker up to date with what’s happening at work
  • involving the worker in each stage of return to work planning.

Learn more about how to support your worker to return to work.

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