Workers compensation and return to work

If you employ workers, you must have a current workers compensation insurance policy, an injury reporting system and an effective return to work program – they will help to ensure that your workers receive the appropriate treatment and benefits, including assistance in returning to their normal duties in the event of a workplace injury or illness.

You are an employer for workers compensation purposes if you are a Pty Ltd company with workers or working directors, a partnership, or a sole trader who employs full-time, part-time or casual workers.

As part of your workers compensation and return to work obligations, you must:

  • have a current workers compensation insurance policy that covers all your workers
  • display the WorkCover Watching out for you poster in your workplace
  • notify WorkCover and/or your Scheme Agent of any workplace incidents
  • establish a return to work program that is consistent with your Scheme Agent's injury management program
  • make suitable duties available to your injured workers
  • keep a record of your wages for the past seven years
  • keep a register of workplace-related injuries and illnesses
  • forward any workers compensation payments to your injured workers
  • not dismiss an injured worker because of their injury within six months of the injury or illness occurring and the injured worker's incapacity to work.

WHERE YOU TICKED IN THE RED ZONE...

…your workers are not covered for workers compensation insurance, and you do not have an injury reporting system or a return to work program.

 

Ticks in the RED zone indicate that you need to take immediate action to obtain a workers compensation insurance policy and to implement an injury reporting system and an appropriate return to work program.

Notify serious incidents – ie a fatality or serious injury or illness – to WorkCover immediately on 13 10 50.

Where do I obtain a workers compensation insurance policy?

In NSW, workers compensation insurance claims and policy services are offered to workers and employers by seven organisations that are known as insurance agents. They are:

Allianz Australia Workers' Compensation (NSW) Limited

CGU Workers Compensation (NSW) Limited

Employers Mutual NSW Limited

GIO General Limited

QBE Workers Compensation (NSW) Limited

QBE Underwriting:

QBE Claims:

 

How do I obtain a workers compensation insurance policy?

To obtain a policy, you must provide the following information:

  • registered business name
  • registered business address
  • workplace address (if different)
  • ACN and/or ABN
  • description of your business
  • estimate of your total wages for the policy period
  • total number of workers, including permanents and casuals
  • estimate of payments to contractors.

Develop your return to work program in accordance with the WorkCover Guidelines for employers' return to work programs, available from workcover.nsw.gov.au

What is a return to work program?

A return to work program is a formal policy and procedure that you must have in place to help your injured workers with their recovery and return to the workplace. It outlines your commitment to assist injured workers with accessing necessary treatment and rehabilitation, and specifies the steps to be taken to achieve a safe, timely and durable return to work.

Your return to work program must be consistent with your Scheme Agent's injury management program and it must be displayed in your workplace.

You must develop a return to work program within 12 months of becoming an employer and you must provide a copy to your workers upon request.

Your program must be developed in consultation with your workers and any industrial union that represents your workers.

WHERE YOU TICKED IN THE ORANGE ZONE...

…you have a workers compensation insurance policy, an injury reporting system and a return work program in place but your policy does not reflect the true nature of your business and your injury reporting system and return to work program are ineffective.

 

Ticks in the ORANGE zone indicate that you are partially compliant but you may need to update your workers compensation coverage with your Scheme Agent and review your injury reporting system and return to work program.

For assistance, contact your Scheme Agent and provide them with details about your current business activities, the number of workers and your estimated wages for the current workers compensation policy period.

Also, review your return to work program to ensure that:

  • you have an effective reporting system in place for the notification and reporting of all workplace incidents
  • all your workers are aware of the workplace incident reporting system and your return to work program
  • your reporting system and return to work program is up-to-date and working effectively.
WHERE YOU TICKED IN THE GREEN ZONE... …you have an appropriate workers compensation insurance policy and an effective injury reporting system and return to work program.
 

Ticks in the GREEN zone indicate that you are compliant with your obligations regarding workers compensation insurance, injury reporting and return to work programs.

However, you would be well-advised to:

  • monitor your workers compensation insurance policy details and ensure that your Scheme Agent is advised of any significant changes to details regarding your business activities, number of workers, or estimated wages.
  • monitor and review your incident reporting and return to work program procedures on a regular basis to ensure they are still working to provide effective assistance to your injured workers in returning them to their normal workplace duties.

STANDARD RETURN TO WORK PROGRAM OUR COMMITMENT

We 1_______________________________ are committed to the return to work of our injured workers.

1(name of organization)

  1. We will prevent injury and illness by providing a safe and healthy working environment.
  2. We will participate in the development of an injury management plan and ensure that injury management commences as soon as possible after a worker is injured.
  3. We will support the injured worker and ensure that early return to work is a normal expectation.
  4. We will provide suitable duties for an injured worker as soon as possible.
  5. We will ensure that our injured workers (and anyone representing them) are aware of their rights and responsibilities – including the right to choose their own doctor and rehabilitation provider, and the responsibility to provide accurate information about the injury and its cause).
  6. We will consult with our workers and, where applicable, unions to ensure that the return to work program operates as smoothly as possible.
  7. We will maintain the confidentiality of injured worker records.
  8. We will not dismiss a worker as a result of a work related injury within six months of becoming unfit for employment.

PROCEDURES

Notification of injuries
  • All injuries must be notified to the supervisor as soon as possible.
  • All injuries will be recorded in the register of injuries.
  • Our workers compensation Scheme Agent (see below) will be notified of any injuries within 48 hours.
Recovery
  • We will ensure that the injured worker receives appropriate first aid and/or medical treatment as soon as possible.
  • The injured worker must nominate a treating doctor who will be responsible for the medical management of the injury and assist in planning return to work.
Return to work
  • We will arrange a suitable person to explain the return to work process to the injured worker.
  • We will ensure that the injured worker is offered the assistance of a WorkCover-accredited rehabilitation provider if it becomes evident that they are not likely to resume their pre-injury duties, or cannot do so without changes to the workplace or work practices.
  • We will arrange for the worker's return to work (subject to medical and rehabilitation provider advice).
Suitable duties
  • When the injured worker, according to medical advice, is capable of returning to work we will develop an individual return to work plan.
  • We will undertake to provide suitable duties that are consistent with medical advice and that are meaningful, productive and appropriate for the injured worker's physical and psychological condition.
  • Depending on the individual circumstances of the injured worker, our suitable duties may be:
    • at the same worksite or a different worksite
    • the same job with different hours or modified duties
    • a different job
    • full-time or part-time.
Dispute resolution
  • If disagreements about the return to work program or suitable duties arise, we will work together with the injured worker and any union representing them to try to resolve them.
  • If we are unable to resolve the dispute, we will involve our Scheme Agent, an accredited rehabilitation provider, the treating doctor or an injury management consultant.
  • If you need help of advice on what you should do, contact the WorkCover Claims Assistance Service on 13 10 50.
  • Refer to the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) who handle conciliation of all claims for most workers – application forms for conciliation are available directly from the WCC or the WorkCover Information Centre on 13 10 50.

CONTACTS

Workplace contact for return to work program

Name:

Phone:

Workers compensation Scheme Agent

Name:

Address:

Phone:

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Contact Us

Email
contact@workcover.nsw.gov.au
Telephone
13 10 50
Media enquiries
4321 5474 or 0413 186 799