Getting people back to work after an injury is not only critical to the worker’s recovery, but also critical to your bottom line.
Victorian research conducted by WorkSafe has found that safety in medium sized businesses is often undelegated or juggled on an ad hoc basis, not demonstrably led from owner / director level, not linked to WorkCover premium performance and not being guided by professional OHS advice.
Often owners and directors are just simply unaware that the systematic implementation of health and safety management systems and subsequent promotion leads to reduced WorkCover premiums; other cost reductions and improved business efficiencies.
Many people feel however, that current models of safety management systems are far too complex for the medium segment; they want the cost reductions and improved efficiencies, but not the complexity that comes with it. Resulting in WorkSafe developing the “Seven Pillars of Safety” – a simplified approach to safety in the workplace.
The seventh pillar is “Return to Work / Injury Management”.
All relevant staff actively involved in RTW and guided by an appropriately senior and competent RTW Coordinator.
Proactive return to work activity results in more successful outcomes not only for the injured worker, but also employers experience reductions in workers compensation premiums.
So how does your workplace measure up?
Area: Return to Work (RTW) Coordination
- RTW Coordinator nominated and appointed.
- RTW Coordinator is competent and has sufficient seniority.
- Active relationship with the Agent, particularly when there is a current claim.
Area: RTW Information
- Workers have been consulted about return to work information and then provided with this return to work information.
- The WorkSafe RTW information template may be utilised for this purpose.
Area: Injury Awareness
Injury data is:
- Entered into an injury register.
- If a claim is lodged, the claim form is forwarded to the Agent as soon as possible.
- Reported to Owner / Director on a regular basis.
Area: Positive Return to Work Culture
- All RTW activity should focus on providing the injured worker with a safe and suitable employment that is consistent with the worker’s capacity for work.
- Systems that actively support workers to RTW are in place, including clearly defined policies and processes.
- The appropriate and relevant people are assigned roles and responsibilities.
Area: Worker representation, assistance and support
- If a worker has chosen an individual to represent, support and assist them, the employer should liaise with this person at all stages of the return to work process.
This simplified approach is designed to support the jugglers in medium business whom have OHS and RTW responsibilities on top of their normal duties, confirming their role as the ringmasters not the experts, and as facilitators, not doers of everything.
WorkSafe have found that “jugglers” lack confidence, skills and capability, are expected to have all the answers and are often presented with an overwhelming amount of complex information. The aim is to provide them with support that is easy to access and tailored to their needs.
At Work Safety Hub, we use the seven pillars as a guideline when developing sustainable protection systems for our clients. Businesses now have a much simpler view and understanding of their roles and responsibilities.