Injury in the workplace
When an injury happens in your workplace, do you immediately start to worry – not just about the health of your worker and how to manage any time taken off, but also the increased costs of your premiums?
In the past, those worries may have been valid – but these days a workplace injury doesn’t always result in time off work, and doesn’t necessarily result in your premiums going up1. By investing in early interventions to ensure a safe and swift return to work after injury, employers can support their teams more effectively and minimise other impacts on the business.
What is early intervention?
Worksafe Queensland describes early intervention as “planning your worker’s return to work as soon as possible after they’ve been injured”2. Employers should provide support to help their workers return to work as soon as possible after an injury to ensure their recovery is quick, safe, and sustainable.
Why is it important for employers to engage in early return to work programs?
Both employers and workers should understand that being injured doesn’t mean staying at home until full medical clearance is gained, or fully recovery is achieved. In fact, studies have shown that work is good for you – and an early return to work can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health3. Providing support for early return to work programs can help ensure that each impacted worker stays connected with the workplace, maintains their daily routine and is able to retain a sense of independence3.
Benefits of early return to work
Research has shown that having long periods off work has negative impacts and reduces the likelihood of a worker returning to work at all3. A study from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians found that someone off work for 20 days had a 70% chance of returning to work3. Once they’re off for 45 days, this decreases to a 50% chance of returning; and for those absent for 70 days or more, only a 35% chance of them ever returning to the workplace3. It is vital that employers invest in keeping their injured workers connected to the workplace – which can take the form of early intervention and a recovery at work program.
Employers also benefit from having workers perform a recovery at work program as it helps to reduce the impact on premiums, ensures that your worker’s skills and expertise stay within the workplace, and reduces the need to train new staff or outlay further resources4.
There are also additional benefits to the rest of the team. Demonstrating positive outcomes and a supportive environment for injured workers can:
- improve staff morale
- reduce staff turnover
- lower retraining expenses
- reduce claims costs
- and – importantly – minimise insurance premiums2