Supporting a worker to recover at work after injury is an important part of their treatment and rehabilitation. Staying active after injury helps workers return to their usual activities at home and at work sooner.
Planning to support your workers recovery at work is essential to a successful outcome. The information below can help you use the recover at work planning tool to develop an effective recover at work plan for your worker and help you meet your legislative requirements.
1. Understand what your worker can do
It is the role of the worker’s treating doctor to assess what the worker can do and communicate this information on the certificate of capacity/certificate of fitnes. Reviewing the certificate of capacity/certificate of fitness with your worker allows you to get a better understanding of what they think they are able to do.
2. Identify suitable work duties
As an employer you have an obligation to find and provide suitable work duties so that your worker can recover at work.
Consider duties closest to your worker’s pre-injury duties first. Duties can be offered in any of the following ways:
- same job (or parts of the job) with different hours
- modified duties
- a different job altogether
- at the same or different workplace
- a combination of these options.
If you are not familiar with your worker’s pre-injury role, you may wish to speak to their supervisor or manager regarding appropriate duties that fit current work routines and schedules.
Discuss your thoughts about suitable work options with your worker. They may have thoughts on work options or modifications that could help them recover at work.
If you have difficulty identifying suitable work options that match your worker’s capacity, contact your insurer. The insurer can arrange a workplace assessment that will help identify suitable work options, overcome barriers to recovery at work, and provide assistance (including necessary equipment, workplace modifications and/or training).
Further information can be found in When a worker is injured: A workers compensation guide for employers.
3. Develop the plan
Using the information you have gathered, develop a recover at work plan for your worker. You may choose to develop your own plan or use the recover at work planning tool.
Keep the following questions in mind when developing the recovery at work plan:
- Are the demands of the duties within the capacity of the worker?
- Is the worker taking any medication that may impact on their ability to perform the tasks?
- Is the environment the worker is returning to appropriate?
- Can any of the tasks be eliminated or substituted to reduce the risk of further injury?
- Is workplace modification and/or equipment required in order for the worker to perform the tasks safely?
- Will they need specific training or instruction to perform the tasks?
- Do their personal circumstances impact on their ability to undertake the tasks?
For most workers their recover at work goal will be to return to their pre-injury work within a specified time frame. For some there may be potential barriers to a successful recovery at work. It is important that you and your worker are aware of any issues and the impact they may have. Planning to support your worker will assist their recovery at work.
The recover at work plan also provides the opportunity to record information essential to the worker’s recovery at work. This includes:
- equipment or other necessary work accommodations
- who the worker should talk to about concerns, difficulties or possible changes to their plan.
The recover at work plan will be most useful when:
- your worker is given the opportunity to participate in the development of the plan
- the plan is in writing
- the plan is updated when any changes are made
- copies of the plan(s) are given to the worker and their doctor.