Other people involved
Safe and timely recovery at work or return to work is a team effort involving open, regular and caring communication. As the employer, you are a member of the worker’s support team, and you have an important role to play. The support team also includes your worker, your insurer, the doctor, and an approved workplace rehabilitation provider.
Your worker’s role
Your worker’s primary role is to focus on recovery and aim to stay at work in some capacity, or return to work as soon as possible. Your worker must find a doctor to act as their nominated treating doctor. This is often the worker’s usual general practitioner.
The insurer’s role
The insurer appoints a case manager who coordinates all aspects of the worker’s claim and is the primary contact for the support team. The insurer’s goal is to ensure your worker can return to their usual work in a timely manner with minimal disruption to your business.
The doctor’s role
Along with the usual role of assessing, diagnosing, treating and certifying patients – in the workers compensation system, the doctor supports the worker to return to work and where possible, recover at work, through appropriate clinical intervention and management.
The workplace rehabilitation provider’s role
The approved workplace rehabilitation provider can help you and your worker resolve problems associated with the recover at work or return to work process.
Approved workplace rehabilitation providers are health professionals like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, rehabilitation counsellors and psychologists who have expertise in addressing the physical, functional, psychological and/or workplace barriers that may affect a worker recovering at work or returning to work.
You are required to provide suitable employment (where reasonably practicable) to support your worker’s recovery at work or return to work.
The greater your ability to accommodate your worker, the less likely the worker will need time away from the workplace.
You may also consider:
- providing your worker with information about workers compensation and recover at work/return to work procedures
- collaborating with your worker to identify suitable work options
- providing information to the support team about the workplace, the worker’s usual job and available short term suitable work options
- developing a recover at work/return to work plan that describes how you will support your worker
- building a strong relationship with your insurer who can provide assistance throughout your worker’s recovery
- showing your commitment to your worker’s recovery by:
- making regular contact with the insurer and requesting involvement in meetings about your worker’s progress
- providing relevant information to help your insurer make fair and timely decisions, eg providing pre-injury average weekly earnings details.
If you have a Return to Work Coordinator, they will assist you with these responsibilities.