We have put together information to keep injured or ill persons informed of what to expect.
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All employers play a crucial role in the prevention and management of workplace injuries.
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Information for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Exercise Physiologists and Doctors.
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Other key stakeholders are also encouraged to provide Information and comments about issues of relevance .
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Problems with the Employer

 

 

Industrial and workplace issues can be a major barrier to an injured worker returning to full or near full capacity in their preinjury work place.  In the information file 1-3 Months - What is happening / should be happening the following issues were mentioned as common workplace barriers:

  • The employer is reluctant to accept that an injury is work related (despite liability being partially or fully accepted by the insurer) and therefore also reluctant to support the restrictions made on the medical certificate.
  • An employer not being aware or being unwilling to accept their obligations toprovide suitable duties  for an injured worker
  • An employer agreeing to provide but then not accommodating the restrictions or hours of a medical certificate.
  • Lack of management and co-worker support - an attitude that the injured worker is a malingerer, weak or not pulling their weight and “dragging the chain”.
  • Subsequent problems with the injured worker being fearful of returning to work 

 

Twelve Months down the track most employers will have accepted that the injury is work related and (even if they have continuing suspicions that it is not) will be aware of the their obligations to provide suitable duties. It is also likely that the employer will have had advice about their legal and injury management responsibilities at this stage and will be attempting to provide at least token levels of support. The vast majority, particularly if they are being provided with good information and support from an external rehabilitation provider and their insurer will be active participants in the return to work process.  

 

After 12 months many small to medium size employers will be finding it costly to have had to make a workers compensation in terms of time, money, and unexpected considerations addressing staffing and business requirements.  Employers are required to provide suitable duties for their workers unless they employ less than staff.  For a small employer  -  i.e. less than 20 staff their obligations can seem onerous.  The personality of the manager and business owner, the circumstances of injury, their experiences with the worker since injury, and the general health of the business  are all factors that can strongly influence the attitude of the an employer to the injured worker, to the treatment team and to injury management experience generally. Where there relationship and attitude with the  injured worker is poor, additional barriers to a successful return to work outcome are likely.

 

These include:

  • Suitable duties not being offered at all
  • Duties being offered that are not consistent with medical restrictions
  • Close monitoring of preface and discrimination by the employer
  • An unhelpful attitude from the worker concerning retuning to work -  e.g. avoidance, hostility, taking regular leave, arriving late , leaving early
  • Pressure from the employer to the agent to have the worker assessed as work ready or generally, anything that will lead to the claim being declined and their obligations ending

 

What you need to consider - 

  1. Try and be aware of the challenges your employer faces and be understanding of their situation
  2. Try to discuss concerns with key staff
  3. Make sure you have a good and experienced rehabilitation provider and experienced case manager who is a good negotiator and mediator.  They can be helpful in explaining  the situation and getting support for common goals acceptable to all parties
  4. Consider mediation if suggested
  5. If all else fails discuss alternate work directions with your NTD and rehabilitation provider.

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