CIRCULAR HEAD COUNCIL

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1 CIRCULAR HEAD COUNCIL RETURN TO WORK AND REHABILITATION MANAGEMENT PLAN RETURN TO WORK & REHABILITATION MANAGEMENT PLAN 1

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS RETURN TO WORK & REHABILITATION POLICY... 3 DEFINITIONS... 4 REFERENCES... 5 THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE COUNCIL S REHABILITATION PROGRAM MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE REHABILITATION COORDINATOR RESPONSIBILITIES OF OUR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE RESPONSIBILITIES OR OUR WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE ALTERNATIVE/MODIFIED DUTIES TRAINING AND EDUCATION OF EMPLOYEES RECORDING AND MONITORING ACCREDITED REHABILITATION PROVIDERS PROGRAM SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION SITES REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO PARTICIPATE CESSATION OF A REHABILITATION PROGRAM RETURN TO WORK PROGRAM AUTHORISATION FORM REVISION No. DATE DESCRIPTION Revised Revised C:\Documents and Settings\jodi\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLKAB\Return to work Rehabilitation Management Plan.doc

3 RETURN TO WORK & REHABILITATION POLICY Approved by General Manager: Amendment(s) (date): File Ref / Policy Cross reference: Return to Work and Rehabilitation Management Plan POLICY STATEMENT The Circular Head Council will aspire to provide a healthy and safe working environment and a commitment to Occupational Rehabilitation and primary care compensated under and in accordance with the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. PURPOSE The Aim of Rehabilitation is to encourage employees who have suffered workplace injury or illness to an early return to their normal duties as soon as medical, rehabilitation and insurance authorities will allow by a responsible system. The program provides for an alternative occupation where medically appropriate. RATIONALE/BACKGROUND To ensure that rehabilitation is the normal course of action following a work related injury or illness, the objective of which is to return the employee to the fullest physical, psychological and social status of which he/she is medically capable, by: i) initiating, as soon as possible, the rehabilitation process following a work related injury or illness, ensuring that participation in such a program will not of itself prejudice an injured or ill employee. ii) iii) assisting injured or ill employees to return to meaningful, productive work as soon as medically possible, through an individually planned rehabilitation program, which may involve internal and external services. maintaining a network of support to ensure that rehabilitation of injured or ill employees is initiated, monitored and progressed to a satisfactory conclusion. 3

4 DEFINITIONS Injury Management Is the process of management of an injured worker intended to provide the worker with a timely, safe and durable return to work following an injury. Rehabilitation Is the process by which an injured or ill employee is returned to a fit state for work. Where necessary, it can include the use of rehabilitation services and vocational services, including the use of a vocational rehabilitation provider. For injured workers, rehabilitation is part of the overall injury management process. Rehabilitation Program Any planned activities associated with the rehabilitation of an injured or ill employee, including, but not limited to, medical examinations, treatment or advice, physiotherapy, alternative forms of treatment, rehabilitation services, the involvement of a rehabilitation provider, alternative duties, a return-towork plan. Rehabilitation Services The Act Treatment, functional capacity assessments, training or other assistance provided to facilitate or assist an employee s rehabilitation. The supply of material or equipment in respect of any occupational therapy projects undertaken by the employee. Any necessary and reasonable modifications required to be made to the employee s workplace, place of residence, or motor vehicle. means the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act The Insurer means the Circular Head Council s workers compensation insurer. Vocational Rehabilitation Provider a specialist in the provision of rehabilitation services and in the implementation of rehabilitation programs. 4

5 Workplace REFERENCES Any plant, building, premises, enclosed space or site owned, operated or controlled by the Council in, on or at which work is or may be carried out by Council employees or contractors to the Council; or Any public place or area under the control of the Council, either temporarily or otherwise, in or on which work is being carried out by Council employees or contractors to the Council; or Any vehicle owned, leased or operated by the Council being used for the purposes of Council business or by an employee whilst at work carrying out work for the Council. Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act

6 THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE COUNCIL S REHABILITATION PROGRAM 1. MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES In the context of this process the term management incorporates Senior Managers and Supervisors. Management responsibilities in respect of rehabilitation include: 1.1 Implement the Council s Policies on Occupational Health and Safety, which includes the investigation of any accident or injury that occurs at the workplace. 1.2 Monitor and manage the council s Rehabilitation Program and Procedures. 1.3 Ensure that workplace management of the Rehabilitation Program is undertaken and the employee nominated as the workplace contact/rehabilitation coordinator is give appropriate training. 1.4 Assist an injured or ill employee to return to his/her pre-injury job through individually planned rehabilitation, which may include the provision of alternative or modified duties. 1.5 Seek the involvement of employees through consultation either directly or through the Workplace Health and Safety Advisory committee to discuss the program and inform employees of their rights and responsibilities. 1.6 To assist the Rehabilitation Coordinator in the identification and provision of suitable alternative duties and in the development, implementation and review of rehabilitation programs and return-to-work plans. 1.7 To sign a return-to-work plan. 1.8 In consultation with the Rehabilitation Coordinator, to maintain supportive contact with the injured or ill employee and (where necessary) their family. 1.9 To encourage appropriate attitudes and behaviour of other employees towards the rehabilitation process and an injured or ill employee who is engaged in that process To manage and supervise any injured or ill employee and to monitor the work environment to ensure that any medical restrictions are observed, 6

7 rehabilitation programs and return-to-work plans are followed, the employee undertakes alternative duties provided and safe work practices are observed, and to immediately advise the Rehabilitation Coordinator when any of these things do not happen To discuss and assist in the resolution of any issue relating to rehabilitation To advise the Rehabilitation Coordinator of any emerging problems with a return-to-work plan, a rehabilitation program or alternative duties being undertaken by an employee under their direction To assist the Rehabilitation Coordinator as necessary in the cessation of a rehabilitation program. 2. EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES Employees responsibilities in respect to rehabilitation include: 7

8 2.1 Take reasonable care in the performance of work so as to prevent workrelated injuries and illnesses to themselves and others. 2.2 Adopt safe work practices consistent with their training, instruction and level of competence. 2.3 Report all hazards and injuries as soon as possible to their Supervisor. 2.4 To undertake appropriate treatment from the doctor of their choice to facilitate a safe and expeditious return to work. 2.5 To attend any medical examinations or appointments arranged in connection with their injury or illness. 2.6 To undertake or participate in a rehabilitation program implemented by the Council and Insurer and to do so willingly and cooperatively and to assist as required in the development of such programs. 2.7 To sign a return-to-work plan. 2.8 To willingly and cooperatively comply with a return-to-work plan and to assist as required in the development of such plans. 2.9 To undertake suitable alternative duties provided by the Council and to assist as required in the identification of such duties To abide by any medical advice. 3. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE REHABILITATION COORDINATOR The role of the Rehabilitation Coordinator is to co-ordinate the rehabilitation function, develop, implement and manage individual programs. Responsibilities in respect of rehabilitation include: 8

9 3.1 To assess and determine the need for a rehabilitation program for an injured or ill employee, in consultation with the Claims Officer, the treating medical practitioner and the Insurer, and to develop the component elements of that program. 3.2 Where necessary consult with the injured or ill employee or their representative. 3.3 To advise an injured or ill employee of the rehabilitation procedures and the requirements of the Act in respect of rehabilitation, ensuring the rights and responsibilities are clearly understood. 3.4 To promote early referral to and cooperation with the treating medical services and to liaise with treatment providers as required. 3.5 To decide the involvement of a vocational rehabilitation provider in consultation with the Claims Officer and the Insurer and in consideration of any advice from the treating medical practitioner. 3.6 To develop, implement, review and revise return-to-work plans in consultation with Claims Officer, the Insurer, the treating medical practitioner and, as necessary, the injured or ill employee s manager and/or supervisor and the injured or ill employee. 3.7 To prepare return-to-work plans in the required format, to sign returnto-work plans and to provide a copy of any current return-to-work plan to the injured or ill employee and to their manager and/or supervisor. 3.8 To ensure that a copy of any return-to-work plan is retained on the employee s workers compensation file. 3.9 To identify suitable alternative duties for an injured or ill employee, in consultation with the employee s manager and/or supervisor and, as necessary, the employee For employees on alternative duties, to liaise with the employee s manager and/or supervisor and conduct regular worksite visits to ensure that employee is coping with their work In consultation with the injured or ill employee s manager and/or supervisor to maintain contact with the employee when they are absent 9

10 from work and assist with counselling and resolution of social problems related to the absence from the workplace Where necessary, to arrange for the provision of rehabilitation services such as functional capacity assessments, counselling, re-training, therapy, equipment To monitor and review the progress of the return-to-work plan, initiate corrective action as required and issue a revised plan Ensure these procedures are reviewed regularly and revised as necessary to comply with any changes in the relevant legislation or the organisation. 4. RESPONSIBILITIES OF OUR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE 4.1 Regular liaison will take place with the injured/ill employee, management, the treating doctor and the Rehabilitation Coordinator, to keep in touch 10

11 with the injured employee s progress. Any transfer of medical information would be with written consent of the injured/ill employee. 4.2 As soon as possible after the injury, consideration shall be given to whether an employee may require a rehabilitation plan or program to assist their recovery. This may include provision of modified or alternative duties. 4.3 There should be an awareness that additional services may be required to assist the Rehabilitation Program such as the need for an interpreter, transport for the injured employee and the involvement of locally based resources in the community. 4.4 Following a lost time or serious injury, the Rehabilitation Coordinator should be advised to discuss the following points:- Name and occupation of the injured employee Nature and extent of the injury or illness Name of treating doctor/hospital Initial estimated period of incapacity What alternative/modified duties are available 4.5 The progress of each case shall re reviewed on a weekly basis with the injured/ill employee and the treating doctor whilst the injured/ill employee is away from work, and while alternative/modified duties are being undertaken. 4.6 This review may in certain cases, be in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Coordinator, External Rehabilitation Provider and when requested by an employee, his/her Union representative. 4.7 If the injured/ill employee has not resumed work with in 2 weeks of injury, the Assistant General Manager shall be notified. 5. RESPONSIBILITIES OR OUR WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE When an injury occurs to an employee, the local Rehabilitation Coordinator will be informed. This officer will:- 11

12 5.1 Assist with assessing the severity of the injury/illness and determining how long the employee is likely to be off work and whether a Rehabilitation Program will be required. 5.2 Assist if necessary with the development of a rehabilitation plan including time frames. 5.3 Assist Management to maintain communication with the injured/ill employee and the treating doctor to ensure all are aware of the Council s Rehabilitation Policy and the availability of alternative/modified duties. 5.4 When an injured/ill employee is from a distant location monitor progress through regular workplace contact. 5.5 Assist the Workplace Rehabilitation Coordinator with regular reviews of an injured/ill employee s progress including the treating doctor and as necessary the External Rehabilitation Provider. 5.6 Advise on the provision of suitable alternative/modified duties when necessary. 12

13 6. ALTERNATIVE/MODIFIED DUTIES Providing suitable alternative/modified duties, where practicable, often a key part of getting an employee back to the job. 6.1 Each case will be individually assessed and duties matched to the employee s physical and mental capabilities after discussion with the employee, external rehabilitation provider and their treating doctor. 6.2 An individual rehabilitation plan will be developed for an injured employee with the agreement of the person and the treating doctor. The plan will state what alternative or modified duties are to be performed, the expected period of employment in these duties, the projected date of return t normal duties and the outcome of the program. 6.3 A staged progression of duties may be necessary to rehabilitate an employee back to his/her normal work, with time frames being nominated for each stage of his/her progression. The initial program may be modified if progress does not run according to plan. 6.4 Alternative or modified duties will be tasks that are productive, meaningful and promote the employee s rehabilitation. 6.5 Assessment of suitable alternative or modified duties should consider the maintenance of industry harmony. This will include prior consultation with local Union delegates when an employee is to undertake duties away from his/her normal work area. 6.6 Alternative or modified duties may take many different forms: Modification of an employee s own job, which may include modification of a work station and/or tools. Provision of a different, but already existing job Combination of several different suitable tasks to constitute a whole job Initial reduction of working hours to aid a severely injured employee back to the workforce. An opportunity to teach a person new skills 6.7 Alternative or modified duties will not be at cost of other jobs at the workplace. 13

14 7. TRAINING AND EDUCATION OF EMPLOYEES The success of a Rehabilitation Program depends on the co-operation of every employee within the Council; therefore employees must be made aware of their responsibilities to support rehabilitation. 7.1 Induction training of new employees will include a segment on occupational health, safety and rehabilitation where employee responsibilities are explained. 7.2 Management will be given assistance in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. 7.3 Existing Employees will be made aware of their responsibilities in supporting the Rehabilitation Program. 7.4 On-site rehabilitation co-ordinators shall be given appropriate training to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities. 14

15 8. RECORDING AND MONITORING Records shall be kept of an injured employee s progress. 8.1 An individual Rehabilitation Plan will be prepared in consultation with the employee and his/her treating doctor. 8.2 Medical information appertaining to a rehabilitation case will be treated with strict confidence and only the outcome of such information ie; Fitness for work will be documented and shall not be made generally available. Please check with you Rehabilitation Coordinator regarding relevant regulations/guidelines regarding confidentiality of medical information. 8.3 Management and the Workplace Health and Safety Committee will review the rehabilitation experience in their work locations through the monthly injury and accident statistics. 8.4 Management and employees shall review the Rehabilitation Program six months after its introduction and annually thereafter. 15

16 9. ACCREDITED REHABILITATION PROVIDERS The following Rehabilitation Providers are available to assist employees who have sustained a work related injury/illness. Employees have the right to attend an accredited rehabilitation provider of their choice. NAME ADDRESS AREA OF EXPERTISE & PHONE Allianz Australia 93 Cameron Street Workers Compensation Insurance Ltd Launceston Insurance Claims (03) Solutions and Outcomes Injury Burnie Management Services This list of Rehabilitation Providers may be subject to review by the Council and its employees. The selection of additional or alternative providers can be considered by the Council, an injured or ill employee and if necessary, his/her relevant Union. 16

17 10. PROGRAM 10.1 The case will be assessed by: Contacting the treating doctor to discuss prognosis and the possible need for rehabilitation. Obtain permission from the employee to carry this out Liaising with our Rehabilitation Coordinator 10.2 Weekly assessment of the case shall be made If the injured employee has not resumed work with 2 weeks the Rehabilitation Coordinator must be notified When, in the opinion of the treating doctor, the injured employee is able to resume working performing alternative, modified or full duties, suitable duties will be identified with the assistance of the Rehabilitation Coordinator if necessary A Rehabilitation Program will be formulated following consultation with the injured employee, the treating doctor and other health professionals; local management and if appropriate an External Rehabilitation Provider Rehabilitation Program will set out: What type of work is suitable How many hours are to be worked each day? This may include overtime providing there has been agreement by employee, treating doctor and external rehabilitation provider. Whether time off for continuing treatment is required. When the employee is to see the treating doctor or specialist. The date for reviewing the program A copy of the Rehabilitation Program will be given to : The employee The treating doctor Other health professionals involved The supervisor and manager 10.8 In the event that an employee shall reject the concept of rehabilitation, the employee has an obligation to consult with the treating doctor, the Rehabilitation Co-ordinator, rehabilitation provider or other appropriate health professional involved and if applicable, the relevant Union. 17

18 10.9 Weekly assessment of the employee s progress will be made while he/she is undertaking a Rehabilitation Program When an employee is certified fit to return to normal duties following an injury, the Rehabilitation Coordinator and the Insurer shall be informed Any disputes over Occupational Rehabilitation should be discussed within the work location and Council. These discussions should involve management, the employee, treating medical practitioners and where applicable, the workplace Health and Safety Committee and any industrial Union representing the employee. If the resolution at this level cannot be achieved, then the matter should be referred to the Insurer. 11. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION SITES. In regard to construction sites, the Council acknowledges and accepts the existence of a standard Industry Rehabilitation Policy, and accepts that in any particular regard where this Council Policy may be different and inappropriate, Council shall implement the Policy in that instance. 18

19 12. REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO PARTICIPATE. Refusal or Failure to Undertake or Participate in a Rehabilitation Program or Suitable Alternative Duties Section 86 of the Act provides for an employee s weekly payments of workers compensation to be reduced or terminated where the employee has failed or refused to undertake or participate in a rehabilitation program or suitable alternative duties recommended by the employer (s86(1)(d) of the Act). For the purpose of this procedure the terms failure, participate in, refusal, undertake and suitable will be applied according to their ordinary meaning. Amongst other things employees will be required to attend events or activities scheduled as part of a rehabilitation program. Where it is apparent that an employee has refused or failed to undertake or participate in or is refusing or failing to undertake or participate in a rehabilitation program or suitable alternative duties recommended by the Council, the following procedural steps will be followed: 12.1 The Rehabilitation Coordinator will consult with the employee to establish the reason(s) for the employee s actions The Rehabilitation Coordinator, in consultation with the Insurer, shall determine whether the employee has genuine, reasonable and justifiable reasons for their action Where the employee does have reasons that are considered genuine, reasonable and justified, the Rehabilitation Coordinator will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. This may require consultation with the rehabilitation provider, where one has been appointed Where the employee is unable to provide a satisfactory reason or reasons for their action, the Rehabilitation Coordinator will counsel the employee about their responsibility under the Act with respect to the rehabilitation program or the alternative duties and ensure the employee has a clear understanding of the possible consequences of the continuation of their actions Where there is a continuation of the action by the employee or a subsequent occasion of the action, the Rehabilitation Coordinator will notify the Insurer and request that formal action to reduce or terminate the employee s weekly payments of workers compensation in accordance with Section 86 of the Act The employee will be provided with written advice to this effect. 19

20 13. CESSATION OF A REHABILITATION PROGRAM Cessation of a rehabilitation program will occur in any of the following circumstances: 13.1 There are clear indications that continuation of rehabilitation is inappropriate; or 13.2 There is no further incapacity and the employee has returned to their full, normal pre-injury or illness duties; or 13.3 The employee is unable or not likely to be able to return to their pre-injury or illness duties but has taken up an alternative role on an ongoing basis; or 13.4 The employee s disability is no longer compensable; or 13.5 The employee has failed or refused to undertake or participate in a rehabilitation program (see s86(1)(d) of the Act); or 13.6 The injured employee is willing, but no longer able to undertake rehabilitation due to factors not related to a compensable disability Where medical evidence is provided that indicates that a return to work is unrealistic in the foreseeable future. In such cases this shall be determined by the Rehabilitation Coordinator in consultation with the Claims Officer and the Insurer, the treating medical practitioner and, as necessary, the employee s manager and/or supervisor. Cessation of a rehabilitation program will be implemented only when there is sufficient documentary evidence to support the cessation. The Rehabilitation Coordinator, in consultation with the Insurer, shall be responsible for determining and implementing a decision to cease a rehabilitation program. The employee will be notified in writing of the cessation of a rehabilitation program and a copy of the notification will be placed on the employee s rehabilitation file. Please quote our ref: 20

21 Your ref: Enquires to: Assistant General Manager Date Dr Address Address Dear Dr (Name) Mr. Mrs, Ms, Miss (Name) is employed by this Council. Our policy is to encourage early return of our employees to full employment as soon as practicable following an injury or illness. Where possible they are returned to their usual work or some alternative/modified work within their capacity. We would appreciate your help in formulating a rehabilitation program to ensure (name) employed as (job title) can return safely to (his/her) usual work or is provided with appropriate alternative/modified work if possible. Any information you could provide on the attached checklist would be most useful. Additional information about the job can be provided if you require. We look forward to your contribution to our rehabilitation team effort. Yours Sincerely Name Title RETURN TO WORK PROGRAM 21

22 ALTERNATIVE/MODIFIED DUTIES Your Name...Date... Department:... Injury:... Aim of Program:... Program Supervisor:... Special Considerations: Work Plans: (Include: work times, descriptions of tasks, review dates and by whom): Signed:...Date... (Employee) Signed...Date... (Supervisor) Signed:...Date... (Treating Doctor) AUTHORISATION FORM 22

23 I, hereby give permission for the workplace Rehabilitation Coordinator,.. from SOLUTIONS AND OUTCOMES INJURY MANAGEMENT SERVICES of the Circular Head Council to discuss my injury/illness. I understand this consent is required to assist with my return to work/rehabilitation and that all information obtained is treated in confidence. Signed:... Date:... 23

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