Managing injury and return to work policy

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1 Managing injury and return to work policy Description: This is a precedent workplace policy governing the management of injury and return to work. Author: Brooke Pendlebury Principal Lawyer, Pendlebury Workplace Law A collection of authoritative precedents from your most trusted source is available on This precedent is also available via subscription to the LexisNexis product the Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents. This document is provided to you pursuant to our Terms & Conditions available on the LexisNexis website. You agree to use the document and its contents in accordance with those terms for the limited purpose of research, giving professional advice to clients, assistance in drafting of agreements, submissions, reports and other like documents in the ordinary course of your business. You agree not to distribute, display, on-sell or transmit this document for any purpose except as permitted above. The document is prepared by the author and is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice whatsoever. Neither LexisNexis nor the author warrants that this document is fit for any specific purpose or is free of any, errors, omissions or defects. You should satisfy yourself that it is appropriate for your own intended use. Neither LexisNexis nor the author accept any liability, loss or damages resulting from or connected with the use of the document. 1

2 Managing injury and return to work policy Purpose The Company is committed to: ensuring the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees; facilitating the prompt, safe and durable return to work of injured or ill employees, regardless of whether the injury or illness sustained is non-compensable or non-work-related; the prevention of accidents, injuries and diseases by providing a safe and healthy working environment (however if any work-related injury or illness occurs, the Company will assist injured staff to return to satisfying, productive employment); and ensuring that no employee is disadvantaged or prejudiced by their participation in a return to work plan. Early notification of significant injuries Employees are to notify their supervisor or manager, as soon as possible, of an injury. The [supervisor / insert other relevant position title] will notify the insurer of significant injuries. The [insert name of relevant Act 1. ] stipulates that the Company must notify the insurer within 48 hours after becoming aware that an employee has sustained a workplace injury that appears to be a significant injury, that is, an injury which requires more than 7 days off work. The insurer will contact the employee, [insert representative from the Company] (Injury Management Coordinator) and the nominated treating doctor within 3 working days. The employee is required to supply the name of a nominated treating doctor who will be authorised to provide relevant information to the insurer, the Company, and other service providers to facilitate the injury management process. For non-significant injuries, the [Injury Management Coordinator / insert other relevant representative from the Company] will notify the insurer within 7 days. Early commencement of injury management Should an employee require injury management, the Company will ensure the process is commenced as soon as possible after an injury, in a manner consistent with all relevant facts, including medical advice. Early commencement of injury management will be facilitated by: prompt reporting of injury/illness to the insurer; accurate medical diagnosis and early commencement of treatment; liaison by the Injury Management Coordinator with the insurer s injury management adviser; and supporting the implementation of an injury management plan, prepared by the insurer (for an employee with a significant injury). If an employee suffers a significant injury, the services of an accredited rehabilitation provider may be sought, with the consent of the injured employee and the nominated treating doctor. The rehabilitation provider's role is to establish a return to work plan suitable for ensuring the injured employee s early return to work. The Injury Management Coordinator will identify accredited rehabilitation providers in consultation with the relevant parties. Notwithstanding such a selection, an injured employee is entitled to nominate any accredited rehabilitation provider to assist in their return to work plan. 1

3 Identification of return to work options The injured employee s return to work should take place as soon as possible, in accordance with the medical advice. This may include a staged process and/or may require modification of the employee s working environment, duties and/or hours of duty. The injured employee and that employee's supervisor should have a clear understanding of all work restrictions and observe any limitations imposed by the nominated treating doctor and rehabilitation provider (if involved). The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that other employees are aware of any restrictions. Following the report of injury, and worker s compensation claim being lodged (pending liability being accepted), and if the employee is still at work, a return to work plan shall be developed by the Injury Management Coordinator in consultation with the parties. It will include: identification of return to work options by the nominated treating doctor, the Injury Management Coordinator, the employee and supervisor, the insurer's Injury Management Adviser and rehabilitation provider (if involved); provision of suitable duties; documentation of the return to work plan; and ongoing review and monitoring by the Injury Management Coordinator. Provision of suitable duties Provision of suitable duties is an essential part of this policy. Careful individual assessment of suitable duties is required before the employee returns to work and each of the parties will be involved in this assessment. Choice of return to work duties will be made on the basis of: the nature and severity of the illness/injury; restrictions imposed by the nominated treating doctor; the predicted time frame for the return to work plan; duties available in the employee s division, section, department, or available elsewhere within the Company; and the employee s skills, career aspirations, competence and training, and current and potential skill level. Wherever possible, the employee's substantive job will be modified and a graded return to pre-injury duties planned. If this is not possible, other suitable duties will be provided where practicable. Some retraining may be required to equip the employee to undertake any alternative duties. When suitable duties have been identified and agreed upon by the parties, details will be specified in writing on the return to work plan and will, where applicable, include: the nature of the duties; any restriction to be observed; any changes in work methods; hours and days of duty; anticipated progression toward full duties; date of commencement and date(s) for review; and any changes in conditions of employment. 2

4 Review of return to work plan The employee's progress on the return to work plan shall be formally reviewed every [insert period of time]. In addition, the injured employee s supervisor shall undertake reviews on a day-to-day basis, liaising with the Injury Management Coordinator, where necessary. Changes to suitable duties will only be initiated (in writing) after consultation between the parties. If satisfactory progress is being maintained, the employee may continue in the substantive position while the return to work plan is in place. In some circumstances, particularly if a return to pre-injury duties is considered unlikely or inadvisable, the employee may be transferred temporarily to a position during the return to work process. Employees who transfer to a temporary position retain their salary and conditions of employment while undergoing a return to work plan. Income and benefits for an employee participating in a return to work plan are subject to the [insert name of relevant Act 2. ]. The Injury Management Coordinator will advise injured employees of their rights and obligations under this Act. The injury management plan will cease either when the injury is no longer impacting upon the employee s employment or a long term accommodation has been made. The circumstances may include when the injured employee: returns to full employment in the substantive position, but with modified duties acceptable to the workplace; is appointed to another position within the Company; is deemed by the Company to be unlikely to gain further benefit, or to gain only minimal benefit, from continued participation in the return to work plan; withdraws from the return to work plan; or ceases to be employed by the Company. The Company shall try to assist employees with long-term disabilities to find suitable alternative positions. If, after a reasonable time, the injured employee is unable to perform productive work of a kind normally available within the Company, the Company may consider medical retirement or termination of employment. Confidentiality Information relating to an employee on a return to work plan will be confidential and restricted to those involved in providing rehabilitation, treatment and occupational health services. The Company shall adhere to the guidelines set by [insert name of relevant government authority 3. ] in this regard. Open consultation The Company will consult with the employee and/or a representative of the employee's choice (if applicable) on any matters arising from the employee s return to work plan. The representative may not be a barrister or solicitor in private practice. Any disagreement about the return to work procedures for an injured employee will be discussed at meetings between the parties involved. If necessary, assistance in reaching agreement will be sought from the Injury Management Branch of [insert state/territory]. Definitions Return to work plan means a written statement of the steps that will be taken to help the injured employee return to work. It outlines details about suitable duties, restrictions, hours and days of return to work and monitoring arrangements. 3

5 Further information and advice For further information, refer to other related policies or contact [insert title of manager or HR] on telephone [insert number] for further advice. Notes 1. Workers Compensation Act 1951 (ACT); Work Health Act 1986 (NT); Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW); Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (QLD); Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 (SA); Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (TAS); Accident Compensation Act 1985 (VIC); Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA). 2. Workers Compensation Act 1951 (ACT); Work Health Act 1986 (NT); Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (NSW); Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (QLD); Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 (SA); Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (TAS); Accident Compensation Act 1985 (VIC); Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA). 3. WorkSafe ACT; NT WorkSafe; WorkCover Authority of NSW; WorkCover Queensland; WorkCover SA; WorkCoverTasmania; WorkSafe Victoria; WorkCover WA. 4

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