Benefits of Return to Work

Public news

Returning to work is not always an easy topic to understand or see the benefits of. However, it has been proven it's actually good for your health and wellbeing to return to work as quickly as possible.

Apart from returning to work having a positive impact on your mental wellbeing, in some cases returning to work can be the best treatment for physical damage as-well, keeping you motivated and moving.

Having an injured worker return to work as soon as possible not only benefits the business by having an extra pair of hands back, but most importantly it will benefit the worker in more than one way. Remembering that at the end of the day, the injured worker was injured in the workplace, so the business has a duty of care to help that worker back on his feet and support him / her along the way of recovery.

This is where the Return to Work (RTW) Act takes a stand, making sure that injured workers are supported appropriately to get that person back to work as quick and safely as possible. Below shows the benefits of the employer and injured worker participating in the Return to Work process.

Worker benefits

  • return to work quickly and safely
  • less disruption to family, work and social life
  • improved employment and financial security
  • less time spent suffering from your injury
  • reduced level of impairment.

Employer benefits

  • return to work quickly and safely
  • less disruption to family, work and social life
  • improved employment and financial security
  • less time spent recovering from your injury
  • reduced level of impairment
  • reduce disruption impacting productivity
  • reduce staff turnover
  • improve staff morale and workplace industrial relations
  • minimise retraining expenses
  • reduce claims costs and impact on premium
  • help a worker's return to the workplace

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Impacts of long-term absence from the workplace due to injury

It is a proven fact, the longer a worker is off work, the harder it is to get that person back to work and back to their pre-injury duties. For many workers there is a decreasing likelihood of them returning to work following an injury the longer they are away from work. Negative impacts on the person who is off work spread far and wide. Below is a list showing some of the social, financial and job prospect impacts on the workers life after a workplace injury.

Social

  • Isolation from friends and colleagues
  • Loss of confidence
  • Loss of identity
  • Impact on family including children

Financial

  • Potential financial impact (workers’ compensation payments may not fully replace your lost wage)
  • Workers’ compensation payments are time limited
  • Most workers’ will not be eligible to receive weekly payments after 104 weeks

Job prospects

  • Potential loss of:
  • Work conditioning
  • Currency of job skills
  • Work status
  • Work identity
  • Work contacts
  • Confidence to perform in a workplace setting
  • Training opportunities
  • Promotion opportunities

A good idea for helping people understand the difficulties of an injured worker is to ask the person 'how would you like to be treated if you were to be injured at work? Some tips for getting back to work early and/or helping someone get back to work early are:

  • Act early – seek medical treatment when necessary. Don't wait until it gets worse.
  • Fill out all the appropriate forms and process them accurately.
  • Workers injury claim form
  • Return to Work Plan
  • After the injury all parties need to try and keep positive and motivated. This will help with the person's well being and getting back to work as soon as possible.
  • Don't wait until 100% recovered to return to work. There are always alternate duties (different jobs or tasks to what they were doing before their workplace injury) or light duties (the same jobs or tasks but with restrictions, for example, lighter lifting loads, regular breaks, no bending or twisting)
  • Work actively and corporately with those involved in the return to work i.e. injured worker, employer, GP's and other medical practitioners, Agent (insurance company), return to work coordinator and shift supervisors. Working well with the stakeholders and keeping up good communication throughout the RTW process will insure a swift and correct return to work process for all parties involved.
  • Raise issues immediately with the necessary people. Sort out any problems when they occur to stop them in their tracks.
  • If needed, seek outside help from professional’s i.e. Rehab Consultants.

At the MTA, we always want our apprentices to return to work quickly and safely because we would expect the same treatment for ourselves. To make the process as smooth as possible each stakeholder needs to play their part accordingly. If you have an apprentice or other employees that need help, contact the MTA’s WHS&RTW Coordinator by clicking here.