Creating significantly better injury management outcomes relies on a number of different factors being brought together into a clear, well managed HR process, according to an injury management expert.
“The process should start with role specific pre-employment assessments with solid health and safety practices, and progress through providing effective on-site injury treatment and a process for dealing with on-going issues quickly,” said Dr John Murray, managing director of the Soft Tissue Centre.
“Everything should be measured to enable accurate and cost-benefit understanding and importantly to help prevent future claims.”
Speaking at the Safety Conference, held from 25 to 27 October 2011 in Sydney, Murray said that having onsite providers closely involved in Return to Work (RTW) programs greatly improves their effectiveness.
“Where possible, workers should be treated quickly allowing them to continue carrying out their same duties – which happens on 97 per cent of occasions,” said Murray.
“Where this is not possible, the providers [should] work closely with the organisation’s RTW teams and the injured worker, to develop a program that helps people get back to their normal duties as soon as possible.”
Murray also noted that there are three main areas that organisations fall down in when it comes to RTW programs.
The first is a lack of focus in treating people early and enabling them to keep working. Secondly, when an injury does occur, a common mistake is allowing treatment to go on indefinitely without having adequate checkpoints.
“We recommend no-one has more than four to six treatments without a review to determine the best way forward,” he said.
“The third area a number of companies struggle with is where an employee is extremely unlikely to make a full return to their original duties. Here decisions need to be made early as to what the most appropriate course of action is for both the injured worker and the organisation.”