Injury management is an integrated, systematic process of returning injured workers to their pre-injury status. It is highly dynamic and interpersonal in nature and requires active collaboration and co-operation between all involved. It needs to focus on people, positive attitudes and supportive workplaces as much as it does on efficient processes. Injury management encompasses activities which directly affect an injured worker’s recovery, including the management of:
- Medical treatment
- returning to work; and
- the relationships between those involved.
The Impact of WORK-RELATED Injuries
Workplace injuries can have a big impact on your business, whether it’s due to reduced productivity, lost sales, lower staff morale, or even closure. If a worker is injured during the course of their employment, they’re entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim. In 2012–13, claims from work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Worker Safety the Optimal Strategy
Workplaces that are successful in injury management, view prevention as the optimal strategy, so integrate work health and safety into all aspects of their business. A work health and safety program is the foundation for establishing a work’s positive awareness and commitment to injury management. Good work health and safety programs not only set standards but establish a shared commitment to workers’ health and safety that is evident from the top down.
Job Task Analysis
Job task analysis (JTA) or physical demands assessment, involves an examination and breakdown of the skills and demands specific to a particular task or duties within the workplace. The assessment is conducted by an experienced occupational therapist or physiotherapist. Victual can assist in this area.
Foster and build a strong culture of early intervention, including injury reporting and management. It helps to clarify procedures for early incident reporting and ensure that injury managers are first responding to an injured worker either by phone or in person.
“Day Zero Triage”
Ensuring that all injuries are reported is still not enough. Injuries need to be reported before the end of that shift, so both treatment and management of the injury can begin as soon as possible. This significantly improves the likelihood of the injured worker returning to meaningful work, reduces the time needed to do so as well as reducing the chance of the worker losing time from work.
Returning at Work
Staying at work helps the injured worker remain connected to their co-workers and minimises the negative impact an injury can have on their wellbeing and their family. This involves having an injury management strategy in place so that suitable duties are available to workers that allow them to stay at work safely without aggravating their injury. For an employer, having a higher stay at work rate can also translate into a lower WorkCover premium rate. A ‘stay at work’ outcome is when a worker stays and recovers at work after an injury, rather than taking time off.
Obviously, depending on the severity of the injury, staying at work isn’t always possible, but wherever an injured worker can be given the opportunity to recover at work, we strongly advocate this.
It’s the Way You Communicate
Frequent and appropriate communication is crucial in effective injury management. Keep all relevant parties involved and part of the process. Victual has a communication guide to assist managers in their contact with injured workers.
Train outside the box
Look outside the box for the message and method of delivering injury management training. Make it relevant, try to remove stigmas, educate on addressing barriers to RTW, how to triage and when, when and why it is appropriate to engage experts, privacy and confidentiality, striking a blend between being clinical and empathetic – and always align the training message to company values.
Contact Victual today for a 10-minute chat about your emergency preparedness or a review on what you are currently doing for your brewery.