What if I cannot do the same work after an injury? What can I expect?

If you or an employee has been injured at work, the road to recovery can feel like a daunting journey. You’re probably worried about how quickly you can get back on the job and whether you’ll be able to perform the same tasks you could before the injury.

In the event that an employee can’t do the same work as they could before, there are systems in place to help manage the return to work process.

It’s called an injury management plan and it allows workers to perform suitable alternative duties so that they return to work safely and without the need to wait for lengthy recovery periods.

What is injury management?

In 2021 The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) accepted 1,914,112 injury claims, with 133,805 people provided with weekly compensation because they couldn’t work due to their injuries.

This time off can be devastating for the injured employee, as well as the employer whose business is impacted by this lost productivity.

That’s where injury management comes in. These are plans that help an injured employee get back to work smoothly.

Injury management helps to protect everyone

The sooner an employee can get on the job the better it is for everyone, as long as it’s done safely and realistically.

Returning to work as soon as possible:

  • Helps improve mental and physical wellbeing
  • Increases social participation
  • Enhances recovery process
  • Minimises financial stress

Suitable alternative duties

If a recovering worker is unable to perform their pre-injury tasks at work, part of their injury management plan should include a list of suitable alternative duties they can perform that have been approved by their doctor.

These duties must:

  • Not be demeaning or token in nature
  • Be suited to the employee
  • Take in the nature of the injury as well as pre-injury employment and skills
  • Adhere to a doctor’s recommendation on the types of tasks that can be performed

The obligation of the employer

If the right early intervention strategies and an injury management plan haven’t been established, handling injury claims can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. That’s why it’s important to engage a  workplace solution expert who can tailor a number of onsite services that will not only protect the health and safety of employees but also safeguard your business.

At Bodycare, we can help you navigate the exact legalities and best practices to help an injured employee get back to work.

We’ll help you:

  • Have a plan to facilitate the worker’s return
  • Develop best practice injury management policies
  • Liaise with doctor’s and employers to create cost effective alternative duties for the employee
  • Evaluate an employee’s fitness for duty throughout the recovery period
  • Ensure that the working environment is safe
  • Have an approved return to work coordinator
  • Track and monitor the employees progress
  • Avoid any form of discrimination against the employee
  • Case manage long term claims

The obligation of the employee

Just as an employer is obligated to protect the health and safety of their workers, an employee is also required to do everything they can to get back to work quickly after an injury.

They can expect to:

  • Be an active participant in the return to work process
  • Follow the restrictions provided by their doctor
  • Be vocal in any health and safety concerns
  • Seek advice on how to be confident in self managing in their recovery

Remember that the longer an individual is away from work, the less they have of ever returning. So it’s in everyone’s interest that you get back to work as soon as possible.

What does a successful return to work program look like?

The best defence is a good offence, which is why having an injury management program in place before anything can go wrong is vital for employers who are serious about preventing and managing injuries in the workplace.

Engaging the help of workplace solution experts who can tailor a number of onsite services that safeguard a business and help protect the health and safety of employees is best practice. Being proactive and implementing early intervention measures will always be the key to a successful return to work for both the employee and employer alike.

Bodycare’s team of expert injury management consultants will take the stress out of injury identification, treatment and management. With our best practice knowledge and technical understanding of occupational injuries we can help you implement a robust early claim and rehabilitation management strategy.

Ready to safeguard your business and employees? Get in touch with the Bodycare team today.