The sooner an injured worker returns to work the better

10 February, 2017

Can you afford to have a worker off work due to an injury for 71 days? What if it were nearly five months?

In 2015/16, the average days lost to injury was 71 days with an average cost of $39,085.

Comparatively, the average days lost to a stress-related claim was 148 with a cost of $73,895.

An incapacity for work can have an impact on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as affecting their family.

When a worker is injured in the workplace, it may result in time off work and often there is a financial impact for the worker as well as the workplace.

The sooner an injured worker can return to work in some capacity, the more likely they are to make a full recovery, both physically and emotionally. This outcome is beneficial to the worker, their family, their colleagues and their employer.

Things you need to know about returning to work

  • The injured worker’s relationship with their manager/supervisor can significantly impact the speed and outcome of the recovery and return to work process.
  • Injury management and successful return to work is a team effort that involves collaboration between; the injured worker, the injury management co-ordinator, the worker’s manager/supervisor, the insurance company and treating medical practitioners.
  • There are various options available in relation to return to work programs and the worker doesn’t need to be fully fit for work before they return to work.  Returning to work is a key component of their recovery.
  • Employers have legal obligations in relation to injury management under Part IX of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
  • Employers who breach their injury management obligations risk prosecution and financial penalties.

Is your industry in the top three worst performers for lost time claims?

  • The industries with the highest proportion of claims in 2015/16 were construction (15 per cent), health care and social assistance (13 per cent) and manufacturing (13 per cent).
  • The industries with the highest proportion of stress-related claims in 2015/16 were health care and social assistance (25 per cent), public administration and safety (24 per cent), education and training (16 per cent).

CCI run customised half-day injury management and return to work training for managers and supervisors. Interested? Contact CCI Workplace Consulting on (08) 9365 7500 or email: