Identifying suitable work options
You don’t have to wait until you receive the NSW workers compensation certificate of capacity before you advise the worker, the doctor and others of the duties you have available.
In fact, the doctor will find it easier to match the capacity of the worker to the duties you have available if you provide this information before the consultation with the worker.
To identify suitable work options you may:
- familiarise yourself with your worker’s pre-injury role
- discuss work options and available duties with your worker
- speak to your worker’s supervisor or immediate manager and ask for suggestions about how to organise duties to fit current work routines and schedules
- review all the jobs your business has available and look at how they may align with your worker’s skill set
- review the capacity of your worker as described on their certificate of capacity
- provide work that has been ‘put on the back burner’ or any good ideas you haven’t had time to implement
- determine who else needs to be involved.
Consider the tasks closest to your worker’s pre-injury duties as your first option. Duties can be offered in any of the following ways:
- the same job with different hours
- modified duties
- a different job altogether
- at the same or different workplace
- a combination of these options.
When identifying suitable work options keep the following points in mind.
- Physical demands
Consider the physical demands of each task. For instance, changing a tyre might require standing, repetitive bending, twisting of the trunk and lifting and pulling heavy loads, while data entry may require prolonged sitting, prolonged and repetitive keying and sustained neck postures. Compare these demands with the doctor’s assessment of your worker’s capacity as described on their NSW workers compensation certificate of capacity. Changing your schedule of work tasks or temporarily incorporating more rest periods in jobs are ways of accommodating the physical demands of the task.
- Psychological, cognitive and social demands
Consider the impacts of the injury, any medication your worker may be taking and the compensation process on your worker’s ability to manage the psychological, cognitive and/or social demands of the duties you are offering.
- Work environment
Consider whether the environment your worker is returning to is appropriate. Confined spaces, uneven surfaces or working alone may affect your worker’s ability to undertake specific tasks.
- Risk management
Consider tasks you can eliminate or substitute to reduce the risk of further injury and protect the health and safety of the worker and their co-workers.
If the duties identified fall outside what would be considered usual duties, consider whether your worker requires information, training or instruction to be able to complete the duties safely.
- Psychosocial factors
Consider how the worker’s personal circumstances influence their recovery at work, particularly if duties are offered at a different work site. Find out where they live and consider whether this creates difficulties getting to and from work. They may require travel assistance to help them recover at work.
- Contributing to the workplace
Do the duties add value to the workplace? Duties that do not add value may cause your worker to become unmotivated. They could also lead to discontent among co-workers who may perceive the worker is not pulling their weight.