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The Importance of Rehabilitation in the Workplace

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Kristine Daw is the Managing Director of Dawtek, a Melbourne-based company specialising in tenders and proposals, tender training, copywriting, editing and creating business templates. Kristine and her small team have a range of clients including small businesses, multi-national corporations, all levels of government and not-for-profits.

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Rehabilitation is about returning an injured employee to their pre-injury duties or functions as quickly and safely as possible following a workplace injury.

Advantages to Employers providing Rehabilitation

An employer under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 is responsible for managing the return to work of their injured employees. The advantages to employers in providing rehabilitation to an injured employee include:

  • showing the employee their contribution is valued by getting them safely back to work as soon as possible
  • limiting the possibility of long-term absence from the workplace that may give rise to other issues
  • reducing the adverse effects on co-workers due to the injured employee being absent
  • improving staff confidence and morale
  • ensuring management involvement in the injury management process
  • increasing the probability of a sustainable return to work
  • containing the direct costs of work related injury to both the employer and employee
  • reducing indirect costs such as lost productivity, recruitment and training for replacement staff.

Support your Worker

Supporting your injured worker to return to safe and sustainable work as soon as possible is necessary to meet your legal obligations; it is good for your worker and is good for business. It can help increase productivity and keep the cost of your WorkCover insurance premium down. It benefits your worker by reducing the financial, health and emotional impacts on them and their family.

100% recovery is not required for your worker to return to work

Employees do not need to be 100% recovered to return to work. Whether it’s reduced hours in their regular job or suitable, alternative duties, getting your employee back to work is an important part of their rehabilitation while they are recovering.

Know your Return to Work obligations

As an employer it is important to know and understand your Return to Work obligations. Everyone’s circumstances and experiences may differ, but supporting your employee by appropriately planning their return to work can help their rehabilitation and get them back to their normal life.

Maintaining Contact

As the employer, your attitude, support and understanding following an injury will affect the relationship between your company and your injured employee. Maintaining appropriate contact with your employee is crucial in helping them while they recover and return to work

Key Actions to help your worker return to work

The following are some key actions you can take early in the process that will facilitate your employees return to work: •contact your employee to ask how they are and to offer support

  • provide your employee with relevant return to work information
  • let your employee know that your organisation takes health and safety seriously and what you are doing to address the hazards that led to their injury
  • tell your employee who the Return to Work Coordinator is and that they should expect a call from the coordinator soon
  • be prepared to make appropriate workplace changes to accommodate your worker’s return to work
  • advise your other employees what you will do to support and assist them and their injured colleague during return to work and ask them to do what they can to support their colleague