Return to work: employer guide

Return to work: employer guide


Welcome to WorkCover Western Australia. This short presentation will assist you getting your injured worker back to work. We’ll explain what to do and what help is available. Our presentation “Making a claim” explains the claims process for workers following an injury at work. Staying at or returning to work is an important part of a worker’s recovery. The longer an injured worker is away from work, the less likely they will ever return. In WA, injured workers have (as part of their claim) access to services and support to help them return to work. As the employer with control over the workplace, workforce and work duties, you’re expected to take a lead role in working out how, when, where and in what way your worker will return to work. Everyone involved with a worker’s return-to-work activities—you, your worker, their doctor and the insurer’s case manager—need to communicate and work together to achieve a successful outcome. If the nature of your worker’s injury is likely to keep them away from the workplace, remember to stay in touch. Talk to them regularly. Invite them to staff meetings. Encourage them to contact you if they have any concerns. Also, ask your worker to provide Certificates of Capacity following every doctor’s appointment. These describe what work they are able to do. There are three steps in the ‘Return to Work’ process. As soon as you receive a Certificate of Capacity, you and your worker can start to plan their return to work. You can use the ‘Return to Work Program’ template available on our website. With your worker, identify suitable duties … keeping in mind their medical restrictions. Also consider: the worker’s usual job, education, skills and experience; what alternative tasks they can perform; their working hours; what supervision or support they may need; and any workplace modifications and equipment needed to help them work safely. It’s important that the return-to-work goal is identified early so everyone can work towards it. This is documented on the ‘Return to Work Program’. Most workers are able to return to their usual job. However, if the injury is severe, a worker may be away from their pre-injury position for weeks… months… or may never be able to return to that job. If this is the case, consider if you can provide them with modified duties or a new job permanently. Alternatively, they may need help finding a new job with a new employer. A workplace rehabilitation provider can help identify suitable duties, … arrange a work trial or re-training; … or assist if there are other issues affecting the worker’s return to work. Speak to your insurer about a referral. The final step is to prepare your workplace for your worker’s return. Make sure the program documents the suitable duties, … hours of work and restrictions; … and that it’s signed by you and your worker. Monitor and review the program at regular intervals and on receipt of Progress Certificates of Capacity. The injured worker is expected to take an active role in their return to work. If problems arise or your worker unreasonably refuses to participate in their program, talk to your insurer. You may also request a case conference to meet with everyone involved with the claim and talk through the issues. Watch our “Case Conferences” presentation to find out more. Further information and help are available. Speak with your insurer and ask them to explain what assistance they can provide. They can also advise you on the worker’s entitlement to weekly compensation while working on a Return to Work Program. If you have any questions about the worker’s capacity to work and their return-to-work duties, the treating doctor or a workplace rehabilitation provider can assist. You can also speak with one of our Advisory Officers by calling either 1300 794 744 or (for the hearing impaired): (08) 9388 5537. We also have a range of publications and resources to help you, available on our website.

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