More than 3000 Victorians who have been off work long-term as a result of a work-place injury need more support and encouragement from employers, doctors and other treatment professionals to return to work, according to WorkSafe Victoria.
Most of the 28,000 people who make a workers' compensation claim in Victoria each year take no time off or are back at work within a month, but WorkSafe believes more can be done to help people off work longer than six months.
Long breaks from work through disability or unemployment adversely affects wellbeing, according to a position statement recently signed by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Supported by more than 70 organisations, including WorkSafe, the statement endorses the idea that work is generally good for your health, said the director of WorkSafe Victoria's return to work division, Dorothy Frost.
"While a physical injury may heal relatively quickly, other physical and psychological effects often develop and/or be made worse the longer someone is off work," she said.
"It is vital workers, their employers, doctors and other treatment professionals and families understand this, but also that help is available for everybody involved, so no one is alone in the process."
However, Frost was confident that the situation can improve because many of the 3000 people who have been off work for more than six months have a strong desire or capacity to work, but they are not getting, or taking, the opportunity.
"Ideally people would never be hurt at work, but those who are deserve the best possible chance to live a productive and meaningful life," she said.